The year began well for most retailers with a marked increase (4.13%) in footfall over the first six months. However, the second half of the year showed an almost equivalent (3.6%) drop in footfall.
One possible reason for the sudden turnaround was the July bombings in London and consequent loss of consumer confidence. Added to this were consumer concerns about their existing debt levels and the slowing of the property market creating a feeling of decreasing wealth.
Pre-Christmas sales were in evidence again this year signalling a desperate attempt by retailers to shift stock and lift turnover. However, according to figures from FootFall the number of shoppers was down in December compared with last year.
BUSINESS FORUM COMMENT
Retailers can only hope that things will improve in 2006. A drop in interest rates would help free up some disposable income and get people shoppping again. However, in the longer-term retailers need to move away from pre-Christmas discounting and reduce post-Christmas discounting by buying carefully and persuading customers that they need to snap up the goods at full price otherwise they will miss out.
They also need to give serious thought to how they can give their own individual shopping areas an edge over the competition from other towns and even other competing areas in the same town.
The Brighton & Hove Business Forum and Economic Partnership are working to establish a Business Improvement District (BID) in the city centre and will be talking to retailers in the proposed area over the next few weeks. See earlier stories in knowledgebase for details of BIDs or click on the BID icon on the top right hand corner of the homepage.
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