The final run-up to Christmas proved a bumpy ride for retailers, presaging a bumper sales season.
According to the latest figures from analysts SPSL, for the week commencing December 16 the Retail Traffic Index was down 8% against the same week in 2006, but up by 15.1% on the previous week.
The most heartening news of the week for retailers was that shopper numbers on Saturday 22 were up by 7.2% on Saturday 23 2006 and by 5.6% against the previous Saturday. Sunday too was a much better day than in the previous year, though many shops closed their doors early in the afternoon then as it was Christmas Eve. Shopper numbers were up by 23.1% against 2006 and by 5.2% week-on-week.
“[In 2006] the final weekend before Christmas was a wash-out,” commented SPSL spokesman Dr Tim Denison. “Everyone was expecting a last-minute surge, but it simply failed to happen. The opposite is true [of 2007]: Saturday was a mega-day – the busiest shopping day of the year so far. Whether it was on the back of concerns over whether postal deliveries of gifts bought on the internet would arrive, or simply that people had left more of their shopping until the last minute, hoping for prices to tumble, we can’t say.”
Denison added that he now expected a bumper sale season. “Certainly it seems that consumers are happy to carry on with their spending spree a little longer,” he said.