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Total UK footfall fell by double-digits in November compared to pre-Covid levels, as the Black Friday event failed to boost in-store shopper numbers. 

The BRC-Sensormatic IQ Footfall Monitor for the four weeks to 27 November, found overall footfall fell by 15.7% compared to November 2019, with a 2% point decrease from October  

Footfall on High Streets declined by 19.6% in November compared to the same month in 2019, 1.3% pints below last month’s rate and above the 3-month average decline of 20.3%. 

Retail Parks saw footfall decrease by 4.1%, which was 3.7% points below last month’s rate.  

Shopping Centre footfall declined by 34.8% from 2019, which was 1.2% points below last month’s rate. 

Black Friday itself saw a decline of 23.4%, however footfall was still 35.3% higher than the previous weekend. 

BRC CEO Helen Dickinson commented: “Footfall figures slipped back slightly on last month, as the harsh November weather deterred some customers from shopping instore. While footfall over the Black Friday weekend failed to match its 2019 levels, this year saw deals spread over the entire month, allowing customers to bargain hunt over a prolonged period.  

“Nevertheless, this month’s footfall was still comparatively strong at the second highest figure for this year, only second to October. London also started to catch up with other major cities as the Christmas lights and markets kicked off the festive season, whilst Northern Ireland consumers benefitted from the High Street voucher system. 

“Retailers are doing everything they can to satisfy their customers, prioritising the food and other products necessary for everyone to make the most of the festive season.” 

Andy Sumpter, retail consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, added: “We saw a slight footfall falter in November, with shopper traffic taking a nominal dip on October’s figures, however, it’s worth remembering that this is only the second time in the whole of 2021 that we’ve seen a monthly slowdown in the High Street’s recovery, as consumer confidence continues to grow and the resurgence in bricks-and-mortar builds back, slowly but steadily. 

“Usually, in November we’d expect to see a boost to the High Street due to Black Friday, which traditionally marks the start of Christmas spending.  However, whilst we saw footfall rise by a third (+35%) week-on-week, shopper numbers on Black Friday were still down on pre-pandemic levels by about a fifth, which maybe down to polarised flux in Christmas shopping behaviours we’re witnessing.   

“Those who have bought early in a bid to avoid crowds and minimise risks of supply chain disruption have shopped even earlier this year, contributing to October’s boost and November’s lull; meanwhile we still expect to see those ‘last minute’ shoppers hitting the High Streets in December.” 

Morning update 

The Financial Reporting Council has closed its investigation into the collapse of Conviviality with no action being brought. 

The FRC was examining financial statements and other financial information filed by the company before its fell into administration. 

“After a detailed review of the evidence, the Executive Counsel has decided that the test for bringing enforcement action against that member of the ICAEW is not met,” it stated. 

“Accordingly, the case has been closed.” 

Elsewhere, alternative protein investor Agronomics has raised total gross proceeds of £27.75m in its latest fundraising drive. 

The group had announced on Wednesday its intention to raise a mininmum of £25m through issuing new shares. 

Richard Reed, Chairman of Agronomics Limited, said: “We are very pleased to announce another successful fund raise and would like to thank all of our existing and new shareholders as Agronomics continues on its rapid growth trajectory.  

“This financing will allow for further investment into current portfolio companies and projects and a pipeline of exciting new opportunities within the rapidly expanding cellular agriculture sector.” 

On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 has edged up 0.2% to 7,143.1pts so far this morning.

Early risers include Nichols, up 2.2% to 1,369.3p, Compass Group, up 1.5% to 1,536p and Marston’s, up 1.4% to 69.4p.

Fallers include Deliveroo, down 4.5% to 250.7p, Hotel Chocolat, down 2.6% to 482p and Devro, down 1.2% to 214p.

Yesterday in the City 

Continuing a rollercoaster week, the FTSE 100 was back down 0.6% yesterday after Wednesday’s strong gains, dropping 0.6% to 7,129.2pts. 

Deliveroo was a major faller, dropping 9.5% back to 262.6p after it emerged founder Will Shu sold £47m of shares to meet his tax liabilities resulting from share awards from its IPO. 

Other fallers included online specialists, as fears over Omicron begin to subside, with Naked Wines, down 5.3% to 621p, Just Eat, down 4.9% to 4,538.5p, THG, down 4.3% to 177.1p and Ocado down 3.4% to 1,680. 

Also down yesterday were McBride, down 3.3% to 632.8p and Greggs, down 2% to 3,020p. 

The day’s risers included AG Barr, up 2.1% after its profits upgrade on Monday, PayPoint, up 1.8% to 631p, McColl’s, up 1.5% to 11.7p, Nichols, up 1.5% to 1340p, Hilton Food Group, up 1.4% to 1,146p, Cranswick, up 1.4% to 3,630p and Devro, up 1.2% to 216.5p.