Boxing Day sales: Footfall down for third year, analysts say

Boxing Day sales: Footfall down for third year, analysts say
The number of people heading to the Boxing Day sales has fallen for the third year running despite some heavy discounting, retail analysts have said.

Springboard, which examines information from UK High Street and shopping centre cameras, said average footfall up to 16:00 GMT was 3.1% lower than in 2017.

It suggested 26 December was becoming less important as a trading day.

But there were still queues for some shops from as early as midnight and the data does not include online sales.

And retailers in London s West End declared a "Boxing Day bounce" saying there had been a 15% increase in footfall from last year.

Shoppers on London s Oxford Street told BBC News they braved the crowds to pick up a bargain and browse products in person rather than just buying them online.

Some stores were offering discounts of as much as 70% after slow sales up to Christmas.

Springboard said in recent years Boxing Day had consistently seen fewer shoppers than the Black Friday sales at the end of November. The number of shoppers in the morning was said to be more than 9% lower than Black Friday.

However, footfall does not include online sales, which made up 21% of retail sales in November, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Image caption Bargain-hunters raced into Selfridges in London as the doors were opened

By Joe Miller, BBC business correspondent

Black Friday has been taking the wind out of Boxing Day sales for a few years now, and retailers have been forced to slash prices even further during the festive period.

While this is good news for shoppers, analysts are concerned that struggling chains, with warehouses full of stock to shift, are now engaged in a race to the bottom, just when they need to be increasing profits.

What s worse is that there is no sign of a spending splurge on the horizon. Even online giants such as Asos have had a hard time of it lately, as household debt is growing, and people have less disposable income altogether.

One place that seems to be bucking the trend - at least today - is the West End in London. That s driven, at least in part, by lots of visitors from overseas, hoping to take advantage of the weak pound.
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