By Petah Marian
Shopper numbers over Christmas are forecast to exceed those of last year, according to research by Ipsos Retail Performance.
Retail footfall between 24 November and 7 December was 1.9% higher than the equivalent weeks last year, according to Ipsos’ Retail Traffic Index. Numbers have been building week-on-week since mid-November and in the past week (w/c 1st December) they increased by a further 5.7%. Against the equivalent week of 2012, they were down slightly, by 0.4%.
“The build-up to Christmas is mapping out very much as we had expected this year,” said Ipsos Retail Performance director of retail Intelligence Tim Denison.
“The first fortnight of the month has been busier overall than last year, with people eager to complete much of their shopping early, hoping to avoid the strains of last minute present seeking, after a stressful year.
“Following a bonanza first week, when shoppers flew out of their blocks and into the stores, the acceleration over the second week has not been quite as strong, as some bargain hunters have been deflected on-line chasing down Black Friday offers.”
The strongest year-on-year growth in the month to date has been seen in Scotland and Northern Ireland where retail traffic is 11.3% up on the same fortnight last year. In stark contrast, the comparison is 1.8% down in Wales and The South West, where last year’s numbers were boosted in the aftermath of November’s regional flooding.