Disappointing December for high street retailers

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THE Christmas high street shopping rush thinned out again last year after footfall in December dropped 3.7 per cent compared with 2012 as consumers increasingly turned to the web.

Figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) also showed that over the last quarter of the year, numbers were down 3.8 per cent, the worst drop since August 2012.

Overall footfall recorded by the BRC/Springboard monitor was down 2.4 per cent in December compared with the previous year. It was double the 1.2 per cent year-on-year drop seen in December 2012.

High streets suffered more than out-of-town locations which were down 0.6 per cent, and shopping centres which were off by 1.5 per cent.

The 2.4 per cent overall fall was an improvement on the heavier decline in November but will be seen as a disappointment after many stores pinned their hopes on sparkling Christmas trading following a dismal autumn. It comes after separate data showed almost one in five non-food purchases were made online in December.