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High street feels the pinch as last-minute Christmas shopping drops

Retailers had been hoping for a strong Christmas after a tough year.

Shoppers in Birmingham on Christmas Eve (Jacob King/PA)
Shoppers in Birmingham on Christmas Eve (Jacob King/PA)

By August Graham, PA City Reporter

High-street retailers have faced a poor showing on the last shopping day before Christmas, as footfall dropped by nearly a tenth, according to early figures.

The number of British shoppers going into high-street stores fell 8.9% before midday, according to new data from Springboard. Across all retail locations, including shopping centres and retail parks, footfall was down 7.8%.

It marks a poor showing on the last day of the crucial pre-Christmas period, but Christmas Eve footfall was also down 6% compared to Monday.

“Footfall today in retail parks has been slightly more resilient than that in high streets and shopping centres, with a decline of -3% from yesterday, versus drops of -7.4% in high streets and -5.8% in shopping centre,” Springboard said.

Retailers have faced a tough year, with several big names being forced to close their doors, including Mothercare.

Trevor Pereira, commercial director at Intu, which operates shopping centres, said that Monday had been its best day of 2019.

“We’ve seen a flurry of excitement and a final boost to pre-Christmas sales as visitors stock up on last-minute goods. [Monday] was our busiest day of the year so far, with just under 1.8 million visitors to Intu centres across the UK,” Mr Pereira said.

He added: “The right mix of shopping and leisure means our centres are drawing in visitors looking for those important, last-minute gifts, who are then staying longer to celebrate the start of the holidays with their friends and family and enjoy all the festive attractions and events on offer.”

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