The five weeks to 28th December proved a "difficult ending to a tough year" in retail footfall terms, according to Springboard, whose index saw a decline of -2.5%.
Although a decrease was unsurprising – footfall has declined in December in all but one year since 2009, states the tracker – the size of the decrease was significant.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday brought Christmas trading forward, leading to a noticeable decline in footfall over the two weeks leading up to Christmas, reports Springboard, and the overall results reflect the caution and spending restraint of consumers that has typified the ongoing low confidence levels of the past three years.
High street footfall (the hardest hit) declined by -3.5%, retail park footfall by -0.5%, and shopping centre footfall by -2.1%.
"Today’s rather circumspect consumer was clearly demonstrating considered restraint towards their lifestyle and spend decisions over the Christmas period," states Diane Wehrle, Springboard's marketing and insights director. "The growing climate change movement and increased consumer concerns around waste and sustainability is likely to have further limited trips to destinations to make non-essential purchases, thereby diluting footfall even further."