furnitureQueueYear-on-year shopper numbers fell sharply on Boxing Day as fewer consumers braved the cold to visit physical store locations.

Retail intelligence consultancy Springboard said Boxing Day footfall across all retail formats was down 10.5 per cent, with high streets seeing the most marked fall in the number of shoppers.

Its micro-analysis of the day — considered one of the most crucial shopping days in the calendar — showed a 22 per cent decline in high street shoppers in the first hour shops were open, though that halved to around 11 per cent in the period leading up to midday.

Retail parks were also down, by around 10 per cent year-on-year over the course of the morning. Springboard said the double impact of early discounting and online shopping was clearly seen to negatively affect pre-Christmas footfall trends and it seems their influence cannot be ignored in relation to Boxing Day.

Its retail insights director Diane Wehrle said: “There have been reports of adverse weather conditions which could have kept shoppers away but we cannot ignore early online sales as a significant driving force in the dwindling appeal of Boxing Day.

“Instead of carefully controlling sales to drive larger profit margins, retailers are seeking to secure their market-share through early discounting. Black Friday this year suggests that these sales will only grow in significance and so our traditional Boxing Day sales may become a thing of the past.”