10 January 2017 - Janet Bird
There was precious little to celebrate for Britain's high street retailers over the Christmas and New Year period, new data suggests.
Figures released by Ipsos Retail Performance show retail footfall in December was the lowest since 1998.
The Retail Traffic Index, which is based on the number of individual shoppers entering more than 4,000 non-food retail stores across the UK, showed high street footfall was down 9.3 percent in December compared to the same period in 2015, with the south west of England and Wales worst affected, with a year on year decline of 14.4 percent.
Meanwhile, according to retail benchmarking firm Springboard, footfall over the New Year weekend on the UK's high streets, in shopping centres and retail parks was down 23.8 percent on last year's figures.
Shopping centres were the worst affected, showing a staggering 50 percent reduction, while high street visitor numbers were down 13 percent.
Bad weather and the bank holiday trading hours are believed to have deterred shoppers, who may also have been feeling the pinch of pre-Christmas spending.