Scenes from Boxing Day at Selfridges, Oxford Street

The latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) due to be released this week will show that despite retailers’ best efforts, December revenues failed to beat 2010’s weak figures.

According to the BRC’s Richard Dodd, the sales figures for December 2011 will show a modest increase in “cash terms” from December 2010, but “won’t have beaten the impact on inflation”, putting more pressure on struggling shops who had pinned their hopes on a festive season sales boost.

What’s more, research produced for The Sunday Telegraph by Springboard measured footfall on UK high streets to find a significant increase in the number of shoppers compared to 2010, but it wasn’t enough to revive the fortune of struggling retailers.

Across all UK regions, high street footfall rose an average of 18.4 per cent between 19 to the 28 of December compared with the same period in 2010. Boxing Day footfall was up 25.2 per cent.

Dian Wehrle, research director at Springboard, said the footfall figures showed that “savvy consumers” had waited to pounce on desperate retailers’ discounts. "When the retailers started sales, suddenly there was a huge uplift," she said.

Prospects continue to look bleak for many more shops after the bargain-driven Christmas activity subsides.

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