Retailers see drop in numbers of shoppers

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RETAILERS were hit by a drastic drop in the number of bargain-hunting shoppers passing through their doors on New Year’s Day, figures show.

Shopping centres saw footfall plummet by almost half (49.5 per cent) compared to the same day in 2016, according to research from retail analysts Springboard.

The high streets were also noticeably sparser of customers this year, down 12.7 per cent on the year before, with a 23.8 per cent average decline across all types of retailer.

Bad weather, reduced opening hours and spending sprees at the start of the festive period were all blamed for the dip.

On average, the weekend as a whole saw a drop of 16.1 per cent across high streets, shopping centres and retail parks, the analysis said.

Diane Wehrle, Springboard’s insights director, said: ‘Retailers traditionally see the first trading weekend as a sign of things to come, and if this still rings true the industry is set for a rocky 2017.

‘Shopping centres in particular have a challenge ahead. Having experienced a decline in footfall during 2016, these destinations need to up their game in order to provide additional reasons to draw shoppers away from their devices with an offer going beyond retail.’