Retail footfall rises as Christmas lights are switched on

Footfall at UK retail destinations rose last week as city centre Christmas lights were switched on, according to data released on Monday by retail analyst Springboard.
Footfall was up 1.5% compared to the week before, but performances varied between retail parks – where footfall fell 1.1% – and high streets and shopping centres, where footfall was up 2.5% and 1.7% respectively.

Springboard said there was also a clear differentiation between the Monday to Friday period, when footfall fell by average 1.4% – and the first and last days of the week, when footfall rose by an average of 8% on Sunday and Saturday. At high streets and shopping centres, footfall on Saturday, after Christmas lights in many cities were switched on, rose 11.7% and 10% respectively. Retail parks saw a more modest 3.2% increase.

Footfall in Central London was 1% higher, however, and Springboard said the benefit to footfall is set to be seen more clearly this week after lights were switched on over the weekend. In regional cities outside the capital, where lights were switched on on Friday, footfall rose 4.7% compared with just a 1.4% increase in market towns.

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard said: “With Christmas lights being switched on in a number of city centres at the end of last week, last week might have provided an early indicator of the anticipation of shoppers for visiting retail destinations over the Christmas trading period.

“Whilst footfall declined marginally between Monday and Friday last week, the week was bookended with marked increases from the week before on both Sunday and Saturday, the two days when shoppers are more readily able to make leisure trips to retail destinations. In addition, it was high streets and shopping centres – where Christmas events and decorations tend to be in the greatest abundance, rather than retail parks that benefited from the greatest uplift in shopper activity.”

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