But it could have been worse…

High Street footfall was down in December

The British Retail Consortium has released figures showing that footfall on Britain’s High Streets in December fell by 1.2 per cent compared to the previous year.

The findings show that this was across all retail types. Shopping centres were hit the hardest, with a drop of 2.8 per cent, out-of-town locations came second, with a fall of one per cent and the High Street saw a fall of half a per cent compared with December 2011.

In terms of regions, the hardest hit were Wales, the east of England and the North and Yorkshire, which reported drops of 11.5 per cent, 7.1 per cent and 4.8 per cent respectively.

However the director general of the BRC, Helen Dickinson, pointed out that although depressing, the figures did not represent a disaster.

“Although overall shopper numbers were slightly down on 2011, it appears that conversion rates were good – when people did get out to the shops they bought more per trip,” noted Dickinson.

“The growing popularity of online retail also had an impact on shopper numbers, but it’s important to remember that online retail sales are only just over 10 per cent of all retail spending and many people took advantage of the investment retailers have made in giving flexible delivery options. Click-online and collect-in-store came into its own.”

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