By Claire West

The first of several weekly updates in the run up to Christmas on retail footfall from Ipsos Retail Performance shows significant leap in shopping activity.

The Ipsos Retail Traffic Index (RTI) recorded an increase of 11.2% in the number of non-food shopping trips across the UK for w/c 25th November compared to the previous week.

The rate of acceleration at this point in the campaign is slightly better than it was last year, for the fourth full week before Christmas Day, and well ahead of the three years prior to that.

The result for the week is marginally higher than Ipsos’ forecast which had expected a 10% jump against w/c 18th November.

Against the corresponding week of 2011 (w/c 27th November), traffic levels were down 6.7% this year, though there are two extra shopping days this side of Christmas Day this year.

“It looks as if shoppers have taken heed of possible stock shortages on top selling lines and have got out there early and made a start on their gift buying this year,” says Dr Tim Denison, Head of Retail Intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance. “The long range forecast of a prolonged spell of wintry weather may also be playing on the minds of people who got caught out and were unable to reach the shops in time in the past two years.

“If things continue in a similar vein, December footfall may be slightly stronger than the 2.1% deficit on last year that we have forecast, which would be welcome news for retailers.”

Unsurprisingly the parts of the country that saw the strongest week-on-week rise in footfall were the regions worst affected by the heavy rain and flooding of the previous weeks. In South West England and Wales, the number
of shopping trips was 16% higher than the previous week, and in London and the South East figures were up by 12.1%.