Black Friday fails to uplift UK footfall numbers

Black Friday deals did not boost shopper numbers in November, with UK footfall decreasing by 2 per cent in comparison to the previous month.

According to figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), which represents 170 major UK retailers, footfall declined by 15.7 per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said that while footfall figures slipped back slightly on October, numbers were still strong.

“While footfall over the Black Friday weekend failed to match its 2019 levels, this year saw deals spread over the entire month, allowing customers to bargain hunt over a prolonged period,” said the chief exec. “Nevertheless, this month’s footfall was still comparatively strong at the second highest figure for this year, only second to October.”

Footfall on High Streets dropped by 19.6 per cent in comparison to November 2019, before the pandemic struck, and by 1.3 per cent in comparison to October 2021.

Retail Parks saw shopper numbers decline by 4.1 per cent compared to pre-covid figures and 3.7 per cent in comparison to the previous month.

Shopping centre footfall fell by 34.8 per cent in comparison to the same month of 2019, while dropping by 1.2 per cent compared to October this year.

“We saw a slight footfall falter in November, with shopper traffic taking a nominal dip on October’s figures, however, it’s worth remembering that this is only the second time in the whole of 2021 that we’ve seen a monthly slowdown in the High Street’s recovery, as consumer confidence continues to grow and the resurgence in bricks-and-mortar builds back, slowly but steadily,” added Andy Sumpter, retail consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, which helped put together the research. “Usually, in November we’d expect to see a boost to the High Street due to Black Friday, which traditionally marks the start of Christmas spending.

“However, whilst we saw footfall rise by a third - +35 per cent - week-on-week, shopper numbers on Black Friday were still down on pre-pandemic levels by about a fifth, which maybe down to polarised flux in Christmas shopping behaviours we’re witnessing.”

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