High Street suffers end-of-year slump

Although the Boxing Day rush saw a significant 17 per cent rise in consumer volume over the previous year, shopper numbers for the week to January 1st were down almost eight per cent on 2004, leaving retailers fearing a tough 2006.

Yet the SPSL figures also encouragingly revealed that the six-day trading week before Christmas helped to dampen fears of a poor end-of-year period, with a 16 per cent rise in footfall over last year. This leaves shopper numbers for the whole of December down only 0.1 per cent compared with 2004 figures.

The figures left SPSL director of knowledge management Tim Denison in two minds as to the reasons behind the trends: “Is it just a blip brought about by inclement weather delaying shopping trips or is it a sign that consumers are hitting their shopping levels, believing that the best bargains are gone?”

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