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Snow equals bad Christmas for UK retailers

by Scott Bicheno on 10 January 2011, 14:09

Tags: Synovate

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White Christmas blues

The Retail Traffic Index (RTI) - a measurement of non-food footfall in the UK produced by market researcher Synovate - for December 2010 was down seven percent on the same period a year ago as the weather and government austerity convinced shoppers to stay at home.

"Heavy snowfall throughout the month at different times in different regions played havoc with shoppers in December," said Synovate's Dr Tim Denison. Synovate had forecast a 4.2 percent year-on-year decline.

"Retailers had high hopes that the impeding 2011 VAT increase combined with creative and competitive promotional campaigns would encourage people to make the most of the lower tax rate and the money in consumers' pockets before the year end." Clearly they're not as stupid as retailers hoped.

"The very fact that the wintry weather continued in many parts of the country beyond the cut-off deadlines of on-line retail sites also suggests that the deficit of footfall on the high streets will not have been reconciled by website traffic. It is a bad outcome for retailers, a bad outcome for shoppers and a bad outcome for the UK economy, just at the wrong time."

The week after Christmas turned out to be the busiest of the year, with Tuesday 28th the busiest day of that week. It seems people are increasingly buying for themselves in the sales. Saturday 11 December was the busiest day of the year, with Synovate opining that a temporary break in the weather encouraged shoppers to venture forth. The RTI for the whole year was down 3.6 percent.

 



HEXUS Forums :: 7 Comments

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So it's nothing to do with the retailers prices then? Most stuff you can get in a shop you can get online for cheaper, especially electronics. Retail shops really need to do something to lower their prices if they hope to compete.
watercooled
So it's nothing to do with the retailers prices then? Most stuff you can get in a shop you can get online for cheaper, especially electronics. Retail shops really need to do something to lower their prices if they hope to compete.

This - A million times over.

We got given a HMV gift voucher for Christmas. We soon realised that we could almost get exactly twice the amount of items, including the things we were looking at buying online for the same cost.
There are a lot of people north of the border that wished they had shopped in the high street and actually been able to give their presents instead of having to wait for the Royal Mail and all the courier companies to catch up from the bad weather.
Interesting bit in a BBC HMV article that noted that John Lewis did rather well over the holidays, pretty much suggesting that those who didnt (in that case HMV) are going down the toilet and the weather was merely an excuse.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12117510
watercooled
So it's nothing to do with the retailers prices then? Most stuff you can get in a shop you can get online for cheaper, especially electronics. Retail shops really need to do something to lower their prices if they hope to compete.

True, but dont retail shops have higher overheads than an on line store, hence the price.