A long-term decline in footfall in the UK high street shows no signs of reversing during the run-up to Christmas – more bad news for brick-and-mortar retailers who failed to make gains during last month’s Black Friday sales.

New figures from Springboard indicate that while week-on-week footfall was up 3.1% for the period 2-8 December, this was still well down on the equivalent period last year and marked a 4.5% fall.

High streets and shopping centres felt the pinch most, with footfall in these destinations down 5.2% week-on-week; retail parks fared slightly better with footfall down 2.2%.

“Whilst some of the trips previously made to bricks and mortar stores are likely to have been diverted online, the vast majority of spending remains in store – and so the significant decline in footfall is clear evidence that spending this year is constrained,” said Springboard

“This conclusion is reinforced by the fact that footfall declined in all areas apart from Northern Ireland, and was in excess of -2% in every UK geography and more than -5% in five geographies.”

The results follow on a 3.2% drop in footfall in November – which marked an acceleration on October’s rate of -2.0%.

This year’s rate of decline offered “indisputable evidence that Black Friday delivers no tangible benefit to bricks and mortar stores,” said Diane Wehrle, Marketing & Insights Director at Springboard.

“Whilst online shopping was inevitably more prevalent than in other months, the vast majority of spending still remained in store and this is what Black Friday impacts adversely,” she explained.

“Since 2013, when Black Friday became established as a key trading day, footfall has decreased in every year bar one, and the only increase in 2017 was just 0.2%.”

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, added that the Black Friday discounting period had begun earlier for a large number of retailers “negatively impacting footfall across a longer period over the month.”

Sourced from Springboard; additional content WARC staff