As Black Friday is being branded more often as a predominantly online-only event, UK retail has endured the biggest drop in footfall (November) for almost 10 years.
According to the latest Footfall figures from the British Retail Consortium, there has been a decline of 3.8% year-on-year for the high street and shopping centres. However, the overall footfall fell by only 3.2%. This is still worrying as this time last year there was a 0.2% growth in November.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of British Retail Consortium, said: ‘It has been a difficult year for many retailers and the outlook remains challenging as Brexit uncertainty grows. Retailers will be following the upcoming parliamentary vote closely and hoping Parliament can secure a transition period to allow businesses time to adapt to life outside the EU.’
Diane Wehrle, Marketing and Insights Director, Springboard: ‘The -3.2% drop in footfall in November is indisputable evidence that Black Friday delivers no tangible benefit to bricks and mortar stores. Whilst online shopping was inevitably more prevalent than in other months, the vast majority of spending still remained in store and this is what Black Friday impacts adversely. Since 2013, when Black Friday became established as a key trading day, footfall has decreased in every year bar one and the only increase in 2017 was just +0.2%. This year, amidst all of the other challenges facing retail, the drop in footfall of -3.2% in November was the largest of any November since Springboard started publishing footfall data in 2009; and in the week of Black Friday itself footfall declined by -5.5%, more than in any week of the month. And the fact that like for like spend was down by -0.5% in November, alongside the lowest rate of growth in non-food online sales, are further indicators that the gleam of Black Friday is diminishing.’
The future is certainly unclear and with brexit negotiations currently taking place, prices could rise. Retailers must prepare however, a study via Retail Economics and Squire Patton Boggs revealed a third of retailers felt they were ‘under-prepared’ for a no deal brexit scenario.