Bank holiday footfall boost after Boxing Day sales slump

Shopper traffic over the Christmas bank holiday remained almost a third down on pre-pandemic levels, falling to -27.8% compared to 2019 across all retail settings on Monday 27 December, the latest data from Sensormatic Solutions showed.

However, footfall saw a marked uptick yesterday (Tuesday 28 December), the second day of the Christmas bank holiday, recovering to -5.6% year-on-2-year (Yo2Y), as shoppers put Omicron fears aside and headed out to bag a bargain, as retailers who had closed their stores on Boxing Day to give staff an extra day off re-opened.

Data from Sensormatic Solution’s footfall index, which captures 4billion shopper visits globally, showed that retail parks performed the most strongly.  Having seen a -33.5% dip in shopper counts compared to pre-pandemic levels on Boxing Day itself, retail parks reported a +2.4% increase in footfall yesterday (Tuesday 28 December) compared to 2019.  However, High Street shopper traffic remained a quarter (-24%) down, whilst shopping centres saw a third (-33%) less visitors Yo2Y.

Shopper numbers in London where the most subdued of the UK’s principal cities, down -22.7% compared to pre-pandemic levels.  Despite tighter covid-19 restrictions coming into force in Scotland and Wales after Boxing Day, footfall in Glasgow was +2% up compared to 2019, while Cardiff was just -1% down Yo2Y, indicating consumer confidence in bricks-and-mortar shopping remains buoyed.

Andy Sumpter, EMEA Retail Consultant at Sensormatic Solutions, commented: “While the Boxing Day figures made for grim reading, there are some positive signs that shopper demand is righting itself, with footfall recovering to -5.6% compared to pre-pandemic levels yesterday, in spite of the concerns about Omicron and rising covid-19 infection numbers.”

“With many retailers having shut stores on Boxing Day itself, to give staff a well-deserved extra day off, consumers voted with their feet once stores re-opened, giving retailers cause for cautious optimism that improved trading over the extended Christmas holiday will continue,” he added.

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