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Damp weather sees Boxing Day shopping visits slump

by ace
Shoppers crown Oxford Street in London during the Boxing Day sales 2019

Boxing Day store visits dropped at the sharpest rate in nine years amid a rainy start to the traditional post-Christmas sales period.

Data firm Springboard said that over the noon period, the number of feet fell 10.6 percent from the same period last year.

That was the biggest decline of any Boxing Day since 2010 – which took place on Sunday, when negotiations began later.

The worst was for the streets, down 13.6%, while retail parks declined by 5.9% and 8.8% in the number of stores.

However, business recovered at the end of the day – down 8.6% on December 26, 2018.

Springboard said it was the worst decline since 2011.

Image:
Shoppers line up outside a store in Gateshead

Springboard Insights Director Diane Wehrle said of the updated numbers: "This is further evidence that consumers are now shopping later in the day on Boxing Day.

"Consumer demand for trips to brick and mortar destinations that include other activities such as leisure and eating out, as well as shopping, continues to strengthen.

"It is clear that consumers visited the higher streets early in the evening than during the day, with steps increasing from -13.8% until 17h to -6.5% between 17h and midnight.

"This is not unexpected, as the main streets have more independent stores, a larger proportion of which will be closed on Boxing Day."

The numbers potentially reflect a gloomy end of the year for Main Street – hit this year by unstable consumer confidence.

Wehrle pointed to major changes in the way consumers shop, including "more internet access, increased spending on Black Friday … and the fact that the number of families combined means that many consumers are still celebrating Christmas on Boxing Day with their families ".

She said, "Taken together, these changes mean Boxing Day is arguably a less important trading day than it was before."

Some shoppers were still prepared to weather the gloomy weather with queues forming outside the Trafford Center Selfridges store in Manchester and others spotted outside the stores in Liverpool before 6am.

It emerged as research suggesting that some consumers were spending less money on cheap fast fashion products due to concerns about the environmental impact.

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