Shopper numbers fell in December, says BRC

Shoppers queuing outside a shop in central London on Boxing Day The BRC says while some parts of the UK saw a big decline, others posted a rise in shopper numbers

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The number of shoppers on UK High Streets fell last month, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Its latest monthly footfall monitor said shopper numbers declined 1.2% in December, compared with a year earlier.

The BRC data comes after official figures revealed that UK retail sales fell last month.

The Office for National Statistics said that sales in December were 0.1% lower than November, but clothing and food sales particularly struggled.

The BRC said that the decline for the month as a whole came despite a rise of 7.5% in shopper numbers in the immediate week before Christmas.

Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, said: "Weak spending power is keeping people away and compounding long-standing difficulties in many of our town centres.

"This month's retail failures confirm the challenges are far from over."

On a geographical basis, the BRC said that Wales saw the biggest fall in shopper numbers, down 11.5%, followed by the east of England, 7.1% lower.

For the south west and north of England, footfall both fell by 4.8%, while in the East Midlands it was 1.2% lower.

However, shopper numbers were up in some nations and regions of the UK, rising 6.2% in Scotland, by 3.1% in London, and 0.6% in Northern Ireland.

The BRC data follows a number of high profile High Street casualties. HMV, Jessops and Blockbuster have all been forced into administration so far this year.

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