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Footfall up 15% on 'Super Saturday' as shoppers defy the rail strikes

Lauretta Roberts
18 December 2022

Footfall was up 15% on 'Super Saturday' as shoppers defied the rail strikes and hit the stores to wrap up their Christmas shopping.

Despite the rail strike on Saturday 17 September, London shoppers counts were up 19.5% year-on-year while other major shopping hubs, including Manchester, Edinburgh and Cardiff also saw higher shoppers counts than 2021, according to the latest data from Sensormatic Solutions.

High streets were the best performers with shopper numbers up 18.5% year on year, with shoppers perhaps keen to avoid depending on online retail with strikes also affecting the rail networks. Overall shopper numbers were up 7% week on week.

Andy Sumpter, EMEA Retail Consultant at Sensormatic Solutions said: “With industrial action across the mail and rail networks risking online delivery disruption to Christmas orders, we’ve seen shoppers take matters into their own hands and head out onto the High Street in a bid to wrap up their Christmas shopping."

Major cities and shopping hubs saw footfall rally, with London shopper traffic up 19.5% year-on-year, while Manchester saw a 12.5% uplift and Cardiff and Edinburgh saw a 19% and 21.9% improvement in shopper counts compared to 2021.  Nottingham fared the strongest of the UK cities, with footfall rising 25.8% on 2021 figures.

“The fact that Super Saturday traffic saw such an uptick in footfall will be a welcome boost for retailers, who will hope shopper visits and consumer spending continue into next week. We expect traffic to continue to build with some very busy days ahead as we head towards the Big Day," Sumpter added.

UK shoppers were expected to spend almost £2.9 billion during what has been dubbed 'Panic Weekend' with 34.3 million Britons expected to make a purchase.

Any uplift in shopper activity will be welcomed by retailers who have faced a tough 'Golden Quarter' so far, with the national strikes and increase in cost of living hitting consumer confidence. On Friday the Office for National Statistics revealed a surprise drop in retail sales for the month of November with sales down 0.5%. Analysts had been expected a growth of 0.3%.

Image: PA Media

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