The latest UK High Street statistics from Synovate Retail Performance show that the number of non-food shopping trips made between November 30th and December 6th climbed by 10.1 per cent compared to the week before – though the number is still 4.1 per cent down on the same week in 2007.
The taxi-ing is behind us and we should be accelerating hard along the runway from now to Christmas,” Synovate retail psychologist Dr Tim Denison stated. Overall, I think retailers will be reasonably satisfied with the latest week's traffic figures given the huge effort that they have put into promotions and other incentives.
The drop from last year is better than the 5.7% fall that we had predicted for the week, and far better than the 6.6% year-on-year decline we measured for November.
Retailers are responding well to the challenge of stimulating people to go shopping as there are plenty of selective bargains to be had. Our belief is that shoppers are taking stock of the offers out there, but are still reticent to spend in the early days of December. The drop in VAT rate seems to have made little difference in lifting consumer confidence and encouraging them to spend.
The public's perception, rightly or wrongly, is that the discounts will get deeper the closer we get towards Christmas, and given the hordes availing themselves of massive discounts at end-of-the-line retailers Woolworth's and MFI, the public needs little encouragement to seek out genuine bargains. The obvious risk in leaving spending to the last minute is that stock of the most popular product lines may run dry.”
Source: Retail Bulletin