Monday 14 January 2019 12:41 am

Footfall slides in December as discounting does little to boost retail woes


Reporter covering retail and property. Email stories to seb.mccarthy@cityam.com

Reporter covering retail and property. Email stories to seb.mccarthy@cityam.com

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The number of shoppers visiting retail parks, shopping centre and high streets continued to slide during December, as attempts to claw back revenue lost earlier in the year through festive discounting failed to lift the fortunes for many of Britain’s bricks-and-mortar brands.

New figures released by Springboard this morning have found that footfall in December tumbled 2.6 per cent, marking the thirteenth month of consecutive decline.

"If nothing else is learnt from December 2018, it is that discounting does not stimulate customer activity, and is severely eroding the strength of Christmas as a major trading period. Ignoring the warning signs and continuing to bring sales forward undermines profitability and, ultimately, longer term innovation in retailing," according to Springboard marketing and insights director Diane Wehrle.

Shrinking levels of footfall have particularly dented Britain’s shopping centre industry, which reached its 21st consecutive month of decline in December. Shopping centre owners such as Intu and

Hammerson have seen their shares plummet in the last 12 months amid a series of botched takeovers and increasingly difficult trading conditions.

"The December results conclude a difficult year for retailers, with footfall dropping by 2.6 per cent over the year," said British Retail Consortium (BRC) boss Helen Dickinson.

She added: "This continued drop, now onto its thirteenth month, continues to put pressure on bricks-and-mortar stores up and down the country."

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