[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 January 2007, 23:52 GMT
'Dip' in Christmas shoppers total
Sale shoppers on London's Oxford Street
Footfall's survey suggests fewer shoppers hit the High Street
The number of shoppers heading into UK stores over the festive period was down from a year earlier, retail research group Footfall has said.

It found that the number of shoppers visiting the High Street in the week before Christmas was down 8%, while the dip for the week after was 6.8%.

Footfall's figures are the latest to suggest a mixed Christmas for shops.

But, online stores are expected to have seen boom in trading prompting industry group IMRG to raise its sales forecast.

IMRG, which represents online retailers, has revised its estimate for the 10 weeks to Christmas from 7bn to 7.5bn.

Mixed fortunes

On the High Street there are expected to be a sharp division between winners and losers.

For example, while Woolworths and HMV issued gloomy trading updates last month, John Lewis said post-Christmas sales were up 8.2%.

Unveiling figures on Wednesday, John Lewis said its sales between 27 December and 2 January totalled 77m, and that the first day of its sale generated a record 18.3m of business.

This is purely footfall to bricks and mortar stores, it doesn't include other channels, like the internet

Most other major retailers release their festive figures in the coming weeks.

Some economists have warned that consumers were likely to cut their retail spending over Christmas due to higher household bills and mortgage payments.

Internet rescue?

However, Footfall cautioned that its figures did not include online sales.

"This is purely footfall to bricks and mortar stores, it doesn't include other channels, like the internet," said Footfall marketing manager Natasha Burton.

And despite the number of shoppers falling on a week by week basis around Christmas, Footfall found that they rose 6.9% on Boxing Day itself.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said it would not dispute Footfall's figures, but that it was "not overly concerned".

"The number of people going through the doors is a bit of a blunt instrument," said a BRC spokesman.

"The only way we'll properly know [how retailers performed over Christmas], is when the real sales figures come out later this month."

High Street DVD and CD retailer Music Zone is one company that has admitted it endured a poor Christmas trading period.

The firm made the admission as it announced that it had gone into administration after its banks withdrew their support.

High Street sales fever continues
28 Dec 06 |  Business
Bargain hunters hit High Street
27 Dec 06 |  Business
Shoppers in late Christmas rush
23 Dec 06 |  Business
Festive fortunes improve at shops
20 Dec 06 |  Business
Warning on weak Christmas trade
03 Dec 06 |  Business
Woolworths low on festive cheer
05 Dec 06 |  Business

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific