Provisional data from retail research group SPSL show that the Christmas rush to the shops has finally started, with shopper numbers this weekend (2-3rd Dec) up 7.6 per cent on the previous one and virtually identical to those on the same weekend of 2005.
London’s Oxford Street and Regent Street were the biggest contributors to the boost. Shoppers flocking to the West End to capitalise on the temporary pedestrianisation of the streets for the “Shop West End VIP” event and the large number of short term sales opportunities on offer. There, retail traffic was 37.1 per cent higher than the previous Saturday and 17.0 per cent up on the same Saturday of 2005.
Dr. Tim Denison, director of knowledge management at SPSL said: “With the change of the calendar month, it seems that people have mentally started to turn their thoughts to Christmas shopping actually in the stores rather than conducting research on-line. High level awareness of short term promotions certainly encouraged people out last weekend – seeking out what bargains retailers have to offer this Christmas."
When asked specifically about the technology sector, Dr Denison said: "If we count small electronics and mobiles as "technology", then the sector always displays more of a ramp up in numbers of shoppers compared to other sectors – simply because gadgets and phones are high on the list of gifts for children. The sector remains pretty buoyant compared to other retail sectors though it still recorded year-on-year declines in traffic numbers in November. Year-on-Year the sector traffic was 3.9 per cent down on Nov ’05 and month on month it rose by 3.3 per cent."