Discounts draw shoppers

18-12-2007

Discounts draw shoppers
Widespread discounting has finally drawn Christmas shoppers to the high street after a slow start to the key trading season, new research claims.

Shopper traffic was up by 3.8 per cent year-on-year on Saturday, according to research firm Experian.

In addition the number of consumers hitting the shops was almost nine per cent higher on Sunday than on the same day last year, the organisation's latest retail footfall index revealed.

Commenting on the data, Experian spokesman Martin Davies said: "The month long waiting game between consumers and the high street finally came to an end this weekend.

"Following two washout weekends, retailers finally gave in last week and launched extensive pre-Christmas sales in order to give a much-needed boost to shopper numbers."

But Experian warned retailers still had a lot of ground to make up after the slump on the high street in recent weeks.

The organisation said consumers had also learnt holding out for last minute purchases increased their chance of buying an item at a discount.

Rather than shopping for Christmas over several months, clever consumers now tend to purchase all their festive goods in one or two big trips, Experian explained.

"Whatever the turnout next weekend, it certainly seems retail's traditional 'golden quarter' has given way to a much less prosperous 'silver month,'" said Mr Davies.

Meanwhile department store chain John Lewis has bucked the general slowdown on the high street and revealed its sales passed the £100 million mark for the first time last week.

The retailer's online business started the week off strongly, reporting its biggest ever day of trading and £2.8 million worth of sales on Monday.

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