22 May 2024, 12:16
By Furniture News Dec 09, 2016

Black Friday fails to drive high street footfall

November saw a dramatic fall in retail footfall, with Black Friday failing to drive shoppers into the UK’s high streets, according to the Retail Traffic Index (RTI) compiled by global retail and footfall consultant Ipsos Retail Performance.

The unexpected drop of -6.4% against November 2015 represents the largest YoY deficit in non-food store footfall since October 2013.

The transition of Black Friday from a single-day store event into a longer promotion across all channels, may have helped retailers avoid logistical problems but failed to attract more shoppers in physical stores than last year.

“Black Friday didn’t deliver any in-store fireworks this year with many of the bargain-hunters taking to their mobiles and PCs rather than to the streets,” says Dr Tim Denison, director of retail at Ipsos Retail Performance. “Not only was store footfall down by 0.7% on the day, but over the week it was down 9.2% on last year. It also seems that Black Friday cannibalised store traffic and held off spending in the previous week when footfall was 8.2% lower than last year.

“Black Friday antics have certainly disrupted store footfall during November, but how this will affect the traditional run-in to Christmas is very difficult to call.”

The Midlands experienced the largest decline, with footfall falling by almost 10% YoY and 5.7% on the previous month. In contrast, Scotland and Northern Ireland fared better, with a rise of 0.5% more shoppers in the month compared to this time last year, and 6.4% more than in October.

Looking forward, Tim adds: “Every year retailers have become quicker to respond to the state of the market to win their share of the festive spend. Every year the analysis becomes more difficult as channels morph and strategies evolve.

“At this point it is impossible to say whether November’s footfall figures are the first sign of shopper distress post-Brexit, or whether underlying demand remains solid and more shoppers are going online. We have, however, revised our December footfall forecast for non-food stores from -0.9% YoY to -2.2% following November’s figures.

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