UK excessive streets don’t seem to have suffered a significant hit from rail strikes within the run-up to Christmas however enterprise has been harm by industrial motion at Royal Mail, in response to separate studies.
Figures from retail consultants Springboard confirmed a 12.7% leap in visits to excessive streets throughout December in comparison with the identical month in 2021.
Springboard stated shopper footfall throughout all retail locations was virtually 10% increased on a 12 months in the past, regardless of a 20% drop within the penultimate week earlier than Christmas that noticed disruption from 4 days of railway strikes.
The knowledge affords hope that Christmas buyers supplied retail and hospitality with an important enhance regardless of the disruption to journey and value of dwelling disaster.
There was sturdy proof to again that up in buying and selling updates from Next, Greggs and B&M on Thursday, which all noticed an growth of their share costs as gross sales beat expectations.
Thursday additionally introduced knowledge from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) that supported complaints from companies concerning the influence of strikes at Royal Mail.
It reported that in November – an important month for Christmas readiness – that 16% of UK corporations had been affected by the motion.
More than 1 / 4 (28%) of these companies reported they have been unable to acquire needed items.
Royal Mail’s 115,000 frontline employees walked out that month on days intentionally timed to disrupt Black Friday and Cyber Monday on-line purchasing deliveries.
The dispute, over pay and dealing phrases, additionally noticed strikes wipe out six days in December together with Christmas Eve resulting in huge backlogs.
There is not any finish in sight to the dispute, led by the Communication Workers Union.
It has turn into more and more private and entrenched, although no new strike dates have been introduced pending additional talks between Royal Mail and union bosses.
The separate rail disputes, involving the RMT and Aslef unions, additionally seem like no nearer to an answer.
Diane Wehrle, advertising and marketing and insights director at Springboard, stated: “There is no doubt that rail strikes impact retail and hospitality at the time they occur.
“However, the longer-term influence of the strikes on December’s footfall gave the impression to be negligible.”
She added: “While many workers labored from house in December because of the strikes, shoppers weren’t deterred from visiting bricks-and-mortar shops and shifted a few of their journeys away from excessive streets to purchasing centres and retail parks which might be extra simply reached by automotive.”
Ms Wehrle also pointed out that if the strain on household budgets from the higher cost of living was not evident ahead of Christmas, then the risk would be that retail, leisure and hospitality destinations could suffer ahead.
“We ought to count on footfall in January to be circa 20% decrease than in December, which is the magnitude of decline that has occurred in January in yearly since Springboard began publishing its footfall knowledge in 2009.”