A storm dampened the hope of a pre-Christmas retail bounce, with stores on the high street suffering a dip in footfall on one of the busiest days before Christmas.
According to retail experts, Springboard, numbers were down by 9% on Saturday, compared to the same period last year.
Including shopping centres and retail parks, footfall was 7.3% lower.
On Friday and Saturday, Storm Deirdre brought freezing temperatures, gales, rain and even snow to many parts of the UK. This bad weather, combined with consumers feeling more confident shopping online from the comfort of their homes, impacted business on what is typically one of the best days of the year for retailers on the high street.
“If people are presented with really terrible weather, they then have the choice to shop online, and they can make other choices about what to do with their time,” shares Springboard marketing and insights director, Diane Wehrle. “That unfortunately offers them sometimes better alternatives than trailing around a town centre or a High Street in freezing cold or rainy weather.”
Christmas shoppers did venture out in greater numbers on Sunday the storm passed – but the marginal rise was not enough to save the weekend’s overall footfall.
Over Saturday and Sunday, Springboard said total footfall dropped by 4.3% against the same weekend in 2017, with the sharpest fall recorded on the high street and in shopping centres.
Wehrle remarks: “Unfortunately the loss of spend is inevitable as many consumers will have made plans for Sunday that could not be altered, and this is a trend that Springboard has identified before – when footfall declines on a particular day due to poor weather it is not all regained on the subsequent day.”
Springboard classed Saturday and Sunday (Dec 15-16) as the peak trading weekend for retailers in the run-up to Christmas and added that while some may choose to hit the shops this week and next weekend instead, it is likely others will have decided to buy their items online.