Dramatic fall in number of September shoppers

THE number of shoppers hitting the streets fell dramatically last month, although the lure of bargains in the run-up to Christmas should give a much-needed boost.

Year-on-year figures released by financial analysts Experian show shopper numbers for September down almost 4% compared to the same month last year.

September 2008 represents the most significant month on month reduction in footfall — down 7.7% on August.

Last week’s budget is likely to have a further impact on consumer spending, according to Mark Mullally, property service manager with Experian.

“Increases in VAT, rising fuel costs and concerns over job security all mean a general tightening of the purse strings. In the UK, some high street retailers are reporting increased online sales, but falling high street revenues. This is a trend which may be repeated in Ireland, as more people begin to shop online.

“Already we are seeing high street retailers here holding mid- season sales, in an effort to boost revenues.”

Mr Mullally said like last year he expects the phenomenon of pre-Christmas sales will be repeated.

“So while the trend year on year is falling footfall figures, we may see an upward surge towards the end of year as shoppers seek out bargains,” he said.

Footfall fell 9.1% for the first week in September compared to the previous week, which Experian said was probably due to the start of the school year.

The footfall index is a national benchmark of visitor numbers to shopping centres around Ireland.


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