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Footfall decreases across Europe

Footfall in Europe for the year-to-date has dropped considerably compared to last year due to the ongoing Eurozone crisis, according to new data released today.

Experian FootFall, provider of visitor analytics, found that national footfall in the UK has dropped 1.5 per cent on last year, as financial pressures have reduced the number of shoppers on the high street.

“Government enforced austerity measures and an economy recovering from recession has seen consumer confidence hit a near 20-year low,” a statement from Experian said.

“A continued rise in online retailing has also affected the growth in footfall. Consumers are increasingly shopping via smart phones and multi-channel retail strategies have become a critical aspect of retail performance in this mature market.”

While it is true that online shopping and m-commerce continue to grow in popularity, many retailers are switching focus to digital platforms in store, with recent research showing that 23 per cent of Oxford Street flagships are offering in-store ‘order online’ touchscreen terminals for store collection or delivery in an attempt to strengthen footfall.

Elsewhere in Europe, shoppers are showing greater caution and recently bailed-out Portugal reported that footfall had plummeted 8.8 per cent since 2010, the highest in the chart.

Banco de Portugal recently published the Autumn 2011 Economic Bulletin, which forecasts for the Portuguese economy for the last part of this year and for 2012. It predicted a 2.2 per cent contraction of the Portuguese economy for 2012 further to a reduction of 1.9 per cent in 2011.

Footfall in France has decreased three per cent on last year despite the fact that the country’s Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has led talks over the Eurozone crisis.

Germany, whose Chancellor Angela Merkel has been another prolific figure in the talks, has seen a lift in footfall of one per cent, the highest in the chart, while Italian footfall has risen by 0.1 per cent in the year to date, despite fears of a bail-out looming for the EU’s third-largest economy.

A statement from Experian said: “The macroeconomic context of the country is continuing to affect Italian shopping centre performance.

“The figures reflect a stable year-on-year performance; however this masks some important variations, such as the growing polarisation of the sector, based on seasonal trends.

“Traffic is usually high during the pre-Christmas sales, summer and January sales periods, but the sector is experiencing an increasing weakness during the latter months. This dynamic is important for store managers to bear in mind when planning the year ahead.”

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