Busy autumn gives way to less shoppers over holiday, but traffic still better than 2003
Shopper traffic fell steadily throughout the latter half of December and the beginning of January, according to the latest figures from Footfall. However, shopper numbers rose compared with last year. According to Footfall's figures, national shopper traffic fell by 5.4 per cent, 7.4 per cent, 15.1 per cent and 9.3 per cent for the weeks commencing December 20, December 27, January 3 and January 10 respectively.

However, it increased year on year by between 8 per cent and 9 per cent for the three weeks from December 20 and by 3 per cent year in the week commencing January 10.

High street footfall fared better than department stores, which collectively saw a 1.3 per cent year-on-year fall in shopper numbers in the week commencing January 10.

A Footfall spokeswoman said: 'The New Year started with an 'extra' bank holiday the Monday, and the fact that the schools didn't start till later in the week prolonged shopping opportunities and led to a second burst of 'sales' shopping. Monday and Tuesday [January 3 and 4] performed particularly well although this is compared with a 'normal' week in 2004. Unsurprisingly, this rise tailed off towards the end of the week with the weekend performing as we would expect for January.

As expected, by the second week of the new year, shopping numbers have declined from the Christmas highs. Although sales continue along the high street, consumers traditionally start taking a breather from the pre- and post-Christmas shopping frenzy and consolidate themselves.'

To see the latest shopper traffic figures nationally, on the high street and in department stores, click on the market data section of the web site.