Footfall on Britain’s high streets and shopping centres plunged by more than a quarter in the week after Christmas compared with the week before, figures show.
Shoppers opted to stay at home, as last week footfall was 27.7% lower than the week before and 19.7% down on the same week in 2019, retail data analysts Springboard said.
It was only 7.2% higher than the same week in 2021, when shoppers stayed away from high streets due to the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid.
The retail experts said a key reason for this difference was that last week began on Christmas Day, a Sunday, when footfall is typically at its lowest, but the year before it began on Boxing Day.
There was a surge in shoppers on Boxing Day 2022, when footfall rose 38.8% higher than in 2021.
The gap between the end of 2021 and 2022 was at its narrowest on New Year’s Eve, with footfall 1.9% higher in 2022.
It comes as figures released on Sunday showed there was a large jump in the number of shops closing on Britain’s high streets.
Analysis from the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) found that 17,145 shops closed for good in 2022 – which is a jump of almost 50% on the 11,449 shops closed in 2021.
Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “Not surprisingly, footfall across UK retail destinations during the week of Christmas was significantly lower than in the week before that in the final trading week.
“Footfall was higher than in the same week last year, but not significantly, despite Christmas 2021 being overshadowed by Covid.
“A key factor here is the offset of Christmas which meant that last week began on Christmas Day – when footfall is at its lowest – whilst in 2021 the week began on Boxing Day when many stores were open and trading.
“In 2019 – the last Christmas before Covid-19 – the offset is even greater, with Christmas Day falling part way through the week before and week 52 commencing on 29 December 2019.”
Wehrle said a significant trend showed higher footfall on 27 December 2022 than on Boxing Day.
“Furthermore, footfall rose further on the following two days, peaking on 29 December, with the first decline from the day before occurring on 30 December, which then continued into New Year’s Eve 2022,” she said.
“This demonstrates that whilst Boxing Day is somewhat of a marker in the annual retail calendar, the key dates for retail spending are now the subsequent days when consumers are likely to have completed visits with family and friends and have time to make trips out.”