Latest figures from SPSL’s Retail Traffic Index show that there has been a bright start to the bargain season. On Boxing Day the number of people out shopping was up by an estimated 17.3% overall compared to last year, partly attributed to the greater number of stores launching Sales or opening on the 26th for the first time.
Like-for-like store footfall was up by 15.9% year-on-year for the day. “After a slow start, the Christmas season has grown increasingly buoyant for retailing, closing the gap against last year’s figures” comments Dr Tim Denison, Director of Knowledge Management at SPSL. With the likes of Marks & Spencer and Next starting their Sales this week, higher numbers are expected as long as snowfalls don’t put off or prevent shoppers from getting to the stores.
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More stores than ever before decided to open their doors yesterday and some began their Sales, but in truth Boxing Day is still a relatively quiet day in the festive season’s retail calendar. To put it into context, there were 32.6% fewer shoppers out on Boxing Day compared to the previous Monday (19th) and 12.7% fewer than Christmas Eve.
The fact though that shopper numbers were up on last year vindicates the decision to open by those retailers who did so. Even after a 6-day trading Christmas week this year, some people still clearly had an appetite to go out shopping the day after Christmas, mostly no doubt in the hope of picking up the earliest and best bargains.
Results for the full week commencing 18th December are this week, but they are expected to show that the number of shoppers out and about in the final week before Christmas were considerably up on the same week last year, mainly due to the extra day’s trading in the week this year. The SPSL long range forecast for the whole of December was that footfall would be down by 2.2% year-on-year, a statistic which looks as if it will end up being close to the mark.