Cold weather drives shoppers indoors
The department store sector is surging ahead of the national retail trend, which is in turn outperforming the high street, according to the latest figures from retail analyst FootFall.

The number of people heading to department stores last week was up by almost 9 per cent compared with the same week last year, with overall national levels falling by 0.7 per cent and town centre shopper numbers falling by 2.6 per cent.

'The holiday period boosted general footfall levels, though the return of the cold weather reduced shopper numbers in town centres. Many consumers chose instead to visit department stores, or covered centres, in order to remain indoors and avoid the cold and snow outside,' said FootFall marketing manager Natasha Burton.

She added: 'The general trend in shopper numbers appears to be in line with last year, although next week's Retail Footfall Index will indicate whether the timing of the school break has created an artificial high. Year-on-year levels may, therefore, return to the lows experienced throughout January.'