Retail in the UK ended the Christmas shopping season on a high note, with “Super Saturday” and “Frenzied Friday” living up to their names. On the last shopping day before Christmas, footfall in UK retail increased by 35% compared to the previous year. Retail parks saw the biggest growth at 9.3% week-on-week. According to a report from Sensormatic Solutions, Friday saw a 43% increase in retail visits week-on-week, and UK shoppers were expected to have spent £4.89 billion between 21-24 December.

Andy Sumpter, a retail consultant at Sensormatic Solutions, highlighted the significant increase in footfall on this year’s Super Saturday compared to the previous year when it fell on Christmas Eve. He explained that consumers were shopping around for the best gift deals and some were holding off on purchases in anticipation of early Boxing Day discounts. Boxing Day shopping also performed well, with a 39.2% week-on-week increase in footfall and only a marginal 1.2% year-on-year decrease.

Zaki Hassan, GM EMEA for retail tech solutions specialist Aptos, acknowledged the strong performance of UK retailers during the Christmas season. He mentioned the massive queues observed at Bicester Village on Boxing Day, where the outlet center had to employ staff to manage the crowds seeking post-Christmas deals. Despite some retailers choosing to stay closed on Boxing Day, there was still a significant presence of shoppers in Central London, with tourists contributing to a higher share of sales than in recent years.

The success of Super Saturday, Frenzied Friday, and Boxing Day shopping indicates that consumers were determined to find the best deals and make their last-minute purchases. Retailers benefited from the increased footfall, providing a much-needed boost to the industry after a challenging year. With consumers eager to end the year on a positive note, the retail sector in the UK can reflect on a successful festive shopping period.

Useful links:
1. BBC – UK retailers experience strong end to Christmas shopping season
2. The Guardian – UK shoppers flock to stores post-Christmas despite Covid restrictions