Pre-Christmas week sees shopper surge, but was it enough?
Store footfall and sales in the final shopping week before Christmas were higher than a year earlier, a new study has shown. The BDO High Street Sales Tracker said footfall increased 10% in the week to December 24 and like-for-like store sales rose 5.3%.
Fashion appeared to lag the overall growth rate but at least sales rose 3.9% on a like-for-like basis, according to reports. Footfall was higher to all retail locations although, as for much of 2017, retail parks saw the biggest influx with a 13.7% rise. Visitor traffic to high streets rose 9.2% while shopping centres rose 8.4%. But even with the increase, it was clear that online was where most of the extra shopping activity was happening with e-sales up almost 40% overall and fashion sales online surging 32.5% for one of the best weekly performances of the year. BDO said the week’s sales would have helped retailers make up some lost ground, but the impact on profits is still unclear as last-minute discounting would have been a major factor in loosening shopper purse strings. The impact of the heavy discounting will be seen over the next few weeks as stores release their Christmas trading updates. Next will be the first with an update this Wednesday but it might not make happy reading as expectations among analysts are of a difficult Christmas season. Next week we’ll also hear from John Lewis, House of Fraser, M&S, Boohoo, Moss Bros, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Ted Baker, Shoe Zone, Debenhams and Mothercare. And in the following two weeks we’ll get updates from JD Sports, Shop Direct, Primark, Bonmarché, N Brown, Asos and Joules.