The first trading weekend of 2017 has delivered a nationwide decline in footfall, as poor weather, an early December spending spree and Bank Holiday trading hours deterred consumers from stepping outdoors on New Year’s Day.

According to retail experts Springboard, New Year’s Eve proved to be the stronger pull for shoppers, with high streets experiencing an improvement on last year, with footfall down only -2.4% year-on-year (YOY), compared with -5.1% YOY on December 31 2015.

Whilst New Year’s Day 2016 was a promising start for retailers, the same cannot be said for January 1 2017 which witnessed a -23.8% YOY average decline in footfall across the UK.


In total, across high streets, shopping centres and retail parks, New Year Weekend saw an average decline of -16.1% YOY.

Shopping centres fared the worst with a steep decline of -49.5% YOY, compared to an increase on +9.8% experienced on January 1 2016.

Out of town retailers also felt the drop in footfall, with a decline of -19.1% YOY, with high streets also enduring a drop of -12.7% YOY.

Unsurprisingly given the poor weather and sales proving to not be as compelling to draw shoppers outdoors, online sales over the weekend rose by +6.8%  YOY, with a +18.2% YOY uplift on December 31 2016.

“Retailers traditionally see the first trading weekend of the New Year as a sign of things to come, and if this still rings true the industry is set for a rocky 2017,” says Springboard Insights director Diane Wehrle. “The ease and comfort of online shopping proved too enticing for shoppers keen to snap up further discounts in the sales rather than bracing the cold outdoors.”

Wehrle warns that shopping centres have a challenge ahead in 2017. She advices retailers in these destinations to “up their game” in order to provide additional reasons to draw shoppers away from mobile devices.