21.5% shoppers more in Boxing Day

Thursday, 29 December 2011
The number of people visiting shops on Boxing Day was 21.5% up on a year ago as stores put on unprecedented numbers of discounts to boost trade up. Online shopping on Monday rocketed by 40%. British shoppers are flocking to the post-Christmas sales including online, where heavy promotions have tempted consumers away from the high street, a survey conducted by retail analysts Experian said the showed on Tuesday.

"It sounds impressive but basically it's mirroring where we were in 2009, and that post-credit crunch was not a tremendous year," Experian retail analyst Anita Manan said.

But numbers of shoppers visiting the sales on Boxing Day, the key post-Christmas sales day for the UK retail sector, were similar to 2009, according to the survey by market researcher Experian, reports Reuters.

Footfall in stores for Monday was up 21.5 percent compared to the same date in 2010 but that figure was flattered by Boxing Day falling on a Sunday last year, when shops have limited opening hours. Also, sales on Boxing Day last year were affected by bad weather, which kept many people at home.

Online promotions led to around 96 million visits to British retail websites on Monday, up 40 percent from last year, she said.

Discounting has been at unprecedented levels as retailers target consumers who have seen their disposable incomes squeezed by rising prices, muted wages growth and government austerity measures

The sector has suffered a bleak year in which the squeeze in consumer spending was compounded by the rise in VAT to 20% and the warm weather, which hit sales of winter clothing.

As a result, retailers put on a frenzy of promotions in the run-up to Christmas and many are now dropping prices further. Industry insiders say that despite reports of encouraging recent trading, some big-name players may not make it through the next few weeks.