Shopper numbers up at end of January
Shopper numbers were up 2.5 per cent for the fourth week of the new year, ended January 29. Year-on-year shopper numbers fell 4.5 per cent, a smaller decline than expected said customer traffic analyst FootFall.

The change for the month of January 2006 compared with December 2005 was a drop of 27.3 per cent. The year-on-year decline for January was 4.6 per cent - the steepest fall since August 2005

'Now that the first payday of 2006 has passed, shoppers have begun to return to the high street,' said FootFall marketing manager Natasha Burton. 'Retailers will be hoping to sustain this momentum as the year continues, especially with Valentine's Day and school half-term periods on the horizon.'

Yesterday, the CBI's Distributive Trades Survey revealed retailers had experienced a tough January. However, optimism for the rest of the year was at an eight-month high.