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Published
Dec 1, 2017
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UK footfall up in November but Black Friday drives Londoners online

Published
Dec 1, 2017

Footfall in UK stores improved last month, which is a relief but is not really a surprise given the large number of special offers in-store during the last two weeks of the month.


Footfall was weak in London last month as shoppers went online instead



But the increase doesn’t mean it’s all good news. Those offers could dent profits for the Christmas season and during November, they had another downside too with the huge discounts being offered online deterring Londoners from physical stores.

That’s according to Ipsos Retail Performance’s Retail Traffic Index (RTI). It showed average weekly footfall up 4.5% compared to October, although it was down 4.7% year-on-year. Black Friday store traffic rose 0.9% compared to the same day last year, but London and the South East suffered a big dip in footfall due to Black Friday, and that meant weekly traffic for the month in the region ended down 10.5% compared to 2016. 

For the report, the researchers track the number of individual shoppers entering over 4,000 non-food retail stores across the UK. They said that while Black Friday store visits edged up year-on-year, for the full week (Sunday November 19 to Saturday November 25) they were down 4.8%.

As mentioned, London may have been weak but for the first time since August, a region saw a rise in year-on-year footfall, with the Midlands improving 1.8%.
 
“Black Friday and the promise of promotions and discounts put many people off shopping in October,” said Dr Tim Denison, director of retail intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance.
 
“When the discounting came, while footfall did improve on last year, many of the price cuts were generally shallower and the offers narrower, with retailers intent on preserving demand as we move into holiday season. Retailers across the UK will take a lot of satisfaction from the marginal 0.9% increase in footfall on Black Friday, and the accompanying growth in online activity.”
 
Ipsos Retail Performance is forecasting that heading into the all-important month of December, non-food store footfall in the UK would fall by 2.1% against December 2016. 

Dr Denison added: “This year it’s likely we will see a ‘careful as you go’ Christmas, with retailers closely managing discounting and promotions against demand, and shoppers vigilant in making their shrunken disposable income go further.”

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