No last-minute ‘dads’ dash’ for high street shops on Christmas Eve

There was no last-minute “dads’ dashes” on the final shopping day before Christmas, with figures showing a decline in footfall by almost 10%.

The number of people going into shops in Britain on Christmas Eve fell by 9.4% compared to the same day in 2018, according to figures by Ipsos Retail Performance.

Books and stationery stores were the only sector to experience year-on-year growth, with footfall up by 6.9%, according to the company’s Retail Traffic Index (RTI).

It comes as trips to non-food stores during the last full week before Christmas increased by 13.7% on the previous week, but fell by 14.2% when compared to 2018.

A Birmingham shopper on Christmas eve
A Birmingham shopper on Christmas eve

So-called “super Saturday” – the last Saturday before Christmas Day – also saw footfall drop by 6.2% on 2018.

Tim Denison, director of retail intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance, said: “Christmas Eve, traditionally the day that men take to the streets to do their Christmas shopping, was a bit of a damp squib this year.

“The eleventh hour came and went without the usual dart to the shops, seeking to find last-minute inspiration and salvation.

“Perhaps confidence in same day/next day delivery of online orders is now such that the infamy of ‘dads’ dash’ will be consigned to Christmas past.”

Retailers have faced a tough year, with several big names being forced to close their doors, including Mothercare.