UK high streets saw a 0.8% year-on-year rise in footfall in December as retailers managed to draw in last-minute shoppers.
The latest monthly Footfall and Vacancies Monitor from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard found the increase in high street footfall – the first December rise for five years – was above the three-month average, which was broadly flat.
Despite a positive result for the high street, overall retail footfall was down 0.2% on December 2015 – a fourth consecutive month of decline, but far shallower than the 2.2% drop during the preceding December.
Footfall in retail parks fell by 0.7% year-on-year, while footfall in shopping centres fell for the 11th consecutive month down 1.9% year-on-year.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive at the BRC, said: “Overall, December saw a continuation of the downward trend in footfall, with shopper numbers falling 0.2% over the previous year.
“It was a more positive story for the high street, which saw a modest bounce back with positive growth for the first time in December since 2011, after managing to draw in last minute shoppers.”
Meanwhile, Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at Springboard, added the rise in footfall suggests the death of the high street has been “greatly exaggerated”.