Figures for December’s footfall in the province’s stores were 8.7% lower than a year ago, it has been revealed. NI’s figures were also down on the 6.3% decline last November, making it the region’s fifth consecutive drop. December saw the UK average of shopper numbers fall by 2.4%.
The UK’s high streets also reported a decrease, down 3.7%, and over three months reported a drop in footfall of 3.8%, which is the worst dip since August 2012. However, with the exception of NI, the South West (-3.4%) and Wales (-3.8%), all regions reported figures above the UK average.
Footfall in out-of-town locations and shopping centres did not escape the plunging shopper numbers, with a 1.2% and 1.8% decrease respectively across a three month period.
Aodhán Connolly, director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, said that although disposable incomes are feeling the squeeze across the UK, budgets in Northern Ireland are under the greatest pressure. He said that there are weighty tasks in the year ahead to build and maintain confidence among customers and retailers.
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