Retail footfall slumped in December 2021 compared to pre-pandemic times as surging Omicron cases deterred many from shopping in-store.

According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), total UK footfall dropped by 18.6% in December, compared to the same period in 2019, wiping out much of the progress made over the last four months.

Although there were no formal Government restrictions aside from a mask-wearing mandate, many individuals limited their shopping trips so they could avoid catching the virus and still enjoy their Christmas with others.

Between November and December 2021, the Growth from Knowledge consumer confidence index fell from -14 to -15.

Yet, the tumbling UK footfall remained ahead of France (-23.5%), Spain (-25.2%), Italy (-37%) and Germany (-51.5%).

Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of BRC, said:

"December footfall capped a challenging year for brick-and-mortar stores, which saw footfall down one-third on pre-pandemic levels, though this was a significant improvement on 2020.

"With Christmas out the way, time will tell if shoppers return to their local high streets to embrace January sales and the arrival of spring collections. Still, retailers may have to work twice as hard to tempt many consumers back into the cold this January."

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