UK shopper numbers dented by rail strikes and snow

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LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Shopper numbers across Britain fell 4.6% last week versus the week before, with rail strikes and cold snowy weather dealing another blow to the country’s retailers, market researcher Springboard said on Monday.

It said shopper numbers, or footfall, in the week to Dec. 17, a key Christmas trading period, was 0.9% lower than last year and 20.1% lower than the 2019 level.

Springboard said high streets were hit hardest, with footfall down 10.2% week on week.

With UK inflation running at 10.7% and consumer confidence close to record lows, retailers were already fearing a muted Christmas, with a raft of surveys showing most consumers plan to do less holiday shopping this year.

Several British retailers, including Marks & Spencer and Primark, have cautioned on the outlook in recent months, highlighting the stress felt by many households as the cost-of-living crisis eats into their finances.

Official data published on Friday showed retail sales slid unexpectedly in November, despite the men’s soccer World Cup and Black Friday sales promotions.

Shoppers on Oxford Street in London, Britain. EPA-EFE/ANDY RAIN

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