‘Re­tail­ers can no longer rely on Christ­mas’

● Lat­est re­port shows shop­per num­bers down for 13th month in a row

The Scotsman - - Brexit - By VICKY SHAW news­[email protected]­man.com

Re­tail­ers can no longer rely on Christ­mas trad­ing to make up for rev­enue lost ear­lier in the year, a re­port sug­gests, as shop­per num­bers on the high street con­tin­ued to dwin­dle in De­cem­ber de­spite big dis­counts be­ing of­fered.

Those be­hind the British Re­tail Con­sor­tium (Brc)spring­board foot­fall and va­can­cies mon­i­tor said re­tail­ers should not ig­nore the warn­ing signs of sales bo­nan­zas fail­ing to stim­u­late cus­tomer ac­tiv­ity.

Dis­count­ing “is se­verely erod­ing the strength of Christ­mas as a ma­jor trad­ing pe­riod”, the re­port said.

The lat­est re­port found that foot­fall fell by 2.6 per cent year-on-year in De­cem­ber – mark­ing the 13th month in a row of de­clines.

Shop­per num­bers on the high street, in re­tail parks and in shop­ping cen­tres

0 Foot­fall on the high street de­clined by 2.1 per cent year-on-year, mark­ing five con­sec­u­tive months of weak­en­ing.

were in de­cline in De­cem­ber.

Diane Wehrle, Spring­board mar­ket­ing and in­sights di­rec­tor, said: “The 2.6 per cent de­cline in foot­fall in De­cem­ber 2018 – the ninth in 10 years,

and the seventh con­sec­u­tive year of de­cline – is un­de­ni­ably strong ev­i­dence that re­tail­ers can no longer rely on Christ­mas trad­ing to re­deem rev­enue lost ear­lier in the year.”

She con­tin­ued: “If noth­ing else is learnt from De­cem­ber 2018, it is that dis­count­ing does not stim­u­late cus­tomer ac­tiv­ity, and is se­verely erod­ing the strength of Christ­mas

as a ma­jor trad­ing pe­riod.

“Ig­nor­ing the warn­ing signs and con­tin­u­ing to bring sales for­ward un­der­mines profitabil­ity and, ul­ti­mately, longert­erm in­no­va­tion in re­tail­ing.”

Foot­fall on the high street de­clined by 2.1 per cent yearon-year, mark­ing five con­sec­u­tive months of weak­en­ing for this shop­ping lo­ca­tion.

Re­tail parks had a sim­i­lar fate, with De­cem­ber foot­fall 2.1 per cent lower than a year ear­lier.

Foot­fall in shop­ping cen­tres de­clined by 3.9 per cent with this lo­ca­tion hav­ing now seen 21 con­sec­u­tive months of de­clines.

He­len Dick­in­son, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the BRC, said: “The De­cem­ber re­sults con­clude a dif­fi­cult year for re­tail­ers, with foot­fall drop­ping by 2.6 per cent over the year.

“This con­tin­ued drop, now on to its 13th month, con­tin­ues to put pres­sure on bricks-and­mor­tar stores up and down the coun­try.

“It comes at a time when re­tail is in the midst of a trans­for­ma­tion, in­vest­ing in tech­nol­ogy and the on­line of­fer, as well as of­fer­ing more ex­pe­ri­ences in phys­i­cal shops.

“This is evolv­ing many high streets into a des­ti­na­tion for wider ser­vices, as well as shop­ping.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.