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Retail footfall showed early signs of recovery in November as shops lured in consumers looking for Black Friday and Christmas bargains, according to new data.

The latest BRC-Sensormatic IQ data for the four weeks to 25 November showed total UK footfall decreased by 0.7% last month, a big improvement on the 5.7% fall in October.

High street footfall fell 1.7% in November, an improvement on -4.6% in October, while retail parks footfall decreased by 1%, up on -4.3% in the previous month, and shopping centre saw traffic decline by 2.2%, an improvement on -7.3% in October.

Of the UK nations, Wales saw the least significant year-on-year drop in footfall, showing a decrease of 0.4%. Scotland saw a YoY drop in footfall of 0.9%, followed by England at 1% and Northern Ireland at 4.9%.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said a slight uptick in consumer confidence, as well as easing inflationary pressures and more predictable weather, led to an improvement in footfall compared to the previous month.

“After a slow October start, the month-long Black Friday sales helped to get shoppers out to their town and city centres,” she added.

However, Dickinson warned “extensive” cost-pressures on the retail industry over the past two years had limited investment and driven up prices at many shopping destinations.

“The Chancellor’s failure to commit to a business rates freeze in his recent autumn statement will inflict hundreds of millions of pounds in additional costs. This will inevitably slow the decline in inflation, as well as limiting long-term investment and limiting any upside from improvements in UK footfall.”

Andy Sumpter, retail consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, said: “Despite disruption from Storm Ciaràn earlier in the month, November’s footfall rallied, buoyed by Black Friday trading and retailers offering extended discounts to spark early Christmas spend and secure festive share of wallet.”

He added footfall in November recovered to its highest performance levels since July.

“However… this recent boost to retailers has been driven by price and promotions sensitive shopping behaviours. Discounting events have proved a major draw, with footfall on Black Friday rising +52.4% week-on-week, for example. We have also seen that improvements in total retail footfall last month were significantly shored up by outlet store visits, as consumers try to make spend go further.

“Undoubtedly, footfall’s recovery in November will allow retailers to look ahead to Christmas trading with more confidence, but the challenge will be not just encouraging ongoing spend into December when disposable incomes remain squeezed, but also ensuring discounting is optimised to protect margin.”

Morning update

The FTSE 100 opened up 0.7% to 7,505.48pts this morning.

Early risers included PayPoint, up 4% to 489.5p, Virgin Wines UK, up 3.3% to 39.8p, Science in Sport, up 2.1% to 12p, Bakkavor, up 1.4% to 85.8p, and AG Barr, up 0.5% to 479.8p.

McBride gave up some of its gains, falling 0.7% to 69.5p, while Deliveroo is down 2.7% to 138.6p, Ocado is down 2.4% to 585.8p and Tesco is down 1.9% to 280.3p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 got registered positive movement for the first time this week, climbing 0.5% to 7,460.33pts.

Risers included McBride, Naked Wines, Glanbia, Pets at Home and Nichols, up 9.5% to 71.4p, 3.9% to 35.1p, 3% to €15.53, 2.7% to 317.2p and 2% to 1,050p respectively.

Fallers were led by Wynnstay Group, down 11.3% to 381.4p after a profits warning, PayPoint, down 5% to 474.5p, Virgin Wines UK, down 3.9% to 37p, and THG, down 3.7% to 76.9p.