With many retailers discounting ahead of Christmas, the latest UK footfall figures in the run-in to the festive season make for positive reading.
The number of people out shopping last week was 10.8% higher than the previous week and up 0.9% on the equivalent week of 2011, according to Ipsos Retail Performance’s Retail Traffic Index.
“Christmas shopping stepped up a couple of gears last week,” says Ipsos director of retail intelligence Dr Tim Denison. “Three weeks out, the average rate of growth is 6% week-on-week, so a double-digit rise is considerably stronger than in recent years.
“The early surge suggests that shoppers don’t want to be caught on the back foot this year, either by weather conditions preventing them getting to the stores or by stock-outs of popular lines.”
Footfall levels for the week were strongest in the Midlands, where the number of stores entered by shoppers was up by 12.8% week-on-week and 4.8% year-on-year.
“If shoppers carry on in this fashion, December may be better than we’d expected,” Denison states. “Many retailers have decided to discount early this year and shoppers have responded. This is a different pattern of behaviour to recent years.”