UK shoppers 25% down on pre-pandemic level in post-Christmas week -Springboard

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LONDON, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Footfall across all British retail destinations in the days after Christmas was 24.5% lower than the same week in 2019 as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 rapidly spread, Springboard analysts said on Monday.

The number of shoppers was also 15% lower than the previous week, with shopping centres seeing the biggest drop, Springboard said.

Omicron dashed retailers' hopes for a boost in post-Christmas sales this year after COVID-19 restrictions forced many stores in London and south England to close in the same period in 2020.

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Footfall on Boxing Day - the day after Christmas Day - was 41% lower than pre-pandemic levels, Springboard said last week.

However, there were some signs of improvement as the week progressed, with 5.2% more shoppers on the high street on New Year's Eve than on Christmas Eve, a reversal of the situation a year ago.

"Despite the well documented cautiousness of shoppers in the run up to and over Christmas this year, it appears that on New Year's Eve there was a shift in behaviour with footfall in high streets increasing from the week before (Christmas Eve)," said Springboard Insights Director Diane Wehrle.

"The winners on New Year's Eve were Central London and historic town centres where footfall rose significantly from the week before, whilst declining in smaller local high streets."

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Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by David Clarke and Angus MacSwan

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