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Black Friday shoppers spurned the high street as they turned online for bargains: BRC

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Black Friday shoppers spurned the high street as they turned online for bargains: BRC
Black Friday shoppers spurned the high street as they turned online for bargains: BRC
Footfall was low in-store on Black Friday and throughout November as shoppers stayed away from the high street and bought online instead, new British Retail Consortium figures suggest.

The number of visitors fell by 2.1% across retail in November, compared with the same month last year, according to the BRC Springboard Footfall and Vacancies Monitor for November 2015. That was a greater decline than the 0.2% fall seen in October and the three-month average of -0.8% – and marked the eighth consecutive month of falling shopper numbers.

But retail parks bucked the wider trend, with sales in these centres up by 2%, year-on-year, in November. High streets, by contrast, saw a 3.4% fall in footfall, while shopping centres were 2.8% down.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC , said: "Shopper footfall wilted once again last month, as consumers shunned high streets and instead sought to take advantage of online 'Black Friday' promotions and discounts which often ranged across several days."

She added: "Those retailers with a strong multichannel offer - allowing customers to shop in-store, at home and on the move - will have been well placed to capitalise on this further milestone in the development of our digital economy. Once again retail parks performed well, with high streets and shopping malls lagging behind."

Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights Director at Springboard , said: “The learning from the UK-wide November footfall result indicates the winners were those destinations that continue to adopt the old school rules of retail – the three Cs of convenience, choice and customer service. Retail parks have these core principles at the heart of their offer, and as a result footfall has increased annually for the past 23 consecutive months with an average increase of 2.4% over this period. Shoppers are increasingly seeking out this traditional retail destination as a strong alternative to online as they have an expanding breadth of offer, together with a core edit of retail brands to choose from.

“There is an evident need for urban shopping destinations to see 2016 as an opportunity to focus on cracking the perennial issue of convenient parking options for shoppers, as most retail parks offer this free of charge. Such changes as improving easy access to town centres could ensure the decline in footfall observed in November, and throughout the year, is mitigated next year.”

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