The retail expert said: “This was one of the most challenging Boxing Days that bricks-and-mortar stores have seen since we first published Boxing Day activity in 2012. This reflects the trend over the entire Christmas trading period, with footfall dropping in -5.9% in high streets, -3.5% in shopping centres and -2.1% in out-of-town retail parks.
Springboard insights director Diane Wehrle commented: “This undoubtedly reflects the extent of discounting that has already occurred – particularly over Black Friday – and the growth in online trade this year. Black Friday now rivals Boxing Day in terms of the volume of footfall generated, so its influence as a key trading day in the retail calendar has been diluted.”
She added: “The success of retailers in terms of their sales performance is yet to be identified. However, the extent of discounting, together with the fact that stores still account for around 80% of total spend and that activity in bricks-and-mortar stores has declined, suggests sales will be lower this year on what is traditionally the key shopping day of the year.”
But Jace Tyrrell, chief executive of New West End Company, which represents London’s Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street businesses, reported: “The Boxing Day sales in London’s West End continued to be popular, with many domestic and international shoppers out in force. Chinese shoppers in particular have helped boost till receipts to £20 million by lunchtime yesterday, with luxury purchases such as handbags and winter fashion in high demand.
“Although footfall was down in single digits on last year, we’re still expecting solid sales with average spend increasing and over £50 million to go through West End tills by the close of the day, driven by discounts of up to 70%, which will continue through the week.”
Springboard provides automated footfall monitoring services for a range of customer-generating environments including the UK’s high streets, retail parks and shopping centres.