UK high street celebrates first December rise in footfall for five years

Helen Cahill
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Consumers Feel The Pinch As Christmas Draws Closer
Debenhams boosted its sales over the Christmas period (Source: Getty)

The UK high street has benefited from the first December rise in footfall for five years.

Footfall increased 0.8 per cent year-on-year in December, according to figures from Springboard and the British Retail Consortium, as consumers sought some festive cheer on the high street.

Read more: Debenhams share price jumps as it reveals sales hike over festive period

However, footfall in retail parks and shopping centres fell by 0.7 per cent and 1.9 per cent respectively.

Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at Springboard, said the figures showed that the "supposition of the death of the high street has been greatly exaggerated".

"The shift in consumer demand from focusing on the purchase of physical goods to encompass experiences has clearly benefited the high street as its offer has been able to transition quickly via an improved food and beverage offer, which has helped to bring in much-needed footfall," she said.

The news comes after a raft of retailers reported better-than-expected results for the Christmas period. Debenhams said its shift to beauty had boosted its sales by one per cent, and Marks and Spencer reported its first increase in clothing sales for six years.

However, figures from Barclaycard suggested that consumer spending in the high street was flat, despite the uplift in footfall.

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