The cold weather has led British Shoppers to look for deals online rather than face crowds in the high street. Online sales have soared while the number of customers bargain hunting in shopping centres has halved from last year.
Springboard Insights have released data that shows the number of people out and about in town retail parks has fallen by 23.8% year on year, while shopping centres have seen numbers fall by 49.5% from last year, and 12.7% from the year before that.
Diane Wehrle, a Springboard director, said, “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.
“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.”
Boxing Day, a traditional shopping frenzy in the UK, had 7.3% fewer shoppers in the high street than the year before.
However, Nick Bubb, retail analyst, warned against knee-jerk reactions. He said, “The weekend obviously wasn’t fully comparable to last year, so they need to be taken with a pinch of salt, particularly given the continuing shift to online shopping,” he said.
“Given the increasing traffic congestion on the roads, there is every reason to expect that more people will opt for the convenience of online shopping in 2017 and that will further undermine high street footfall, at a time when consumers are going to be increasingly careful about how they spend their money, as real incomes come under pressure.”
Investors and analysts are always eager to see how well the big brands Christmas trading faired. Next are publishing their results tomorrow, with Tesco and Debenhams publishing there figures the day after.
Retailers are also concerned over future destabilisation due to Brexit.