Hammerson’s Retail Tracker (HART)*, which monitors sales activity across its UK-wide portfolio of shopping centres, reported a 0.7% uptick in like-for-like sales in December, outperforming the BDO High Street Sales Tracker which recorded a dip of -0.1% for the month.
Across the portfolio, sales increased 0.5% lfl for the eight weeks to 31 December, with Black Friday promotional activity kicking off earlier in November, smoothing demand and providing customers with greater opportunities to benefit from the fantastic deals on offer. The extended promotional period was well-flagged by retailers, with customers now more focused on ‘Black Fortnight’ rather than one day of discounts.
Demand for Athleisure refuses to be dampened
The legacy of a sporty summer proved resilient despite the icy temperatures in December, with sales of sports and outdoor purchases up 14.4% lfl in the month. This category has outperformed consistently throughout 2016, benefitting from the rise in popularity of ‘Athleisure’, with a number of retailers launching their own sports lines and a growing number of celebrity endorsements.
Department stores outperform
Festive adverts and campaigns were a winning combination for department stores, which saw a sales increase of 2.1% in December, as time-stretched shoppers looked to stock up on gifts and update their winter wardrobes in one convenient place. At Brent Cross, department stores particularly benefitted from demand for homewares and electricals over the Christmas period.
Technology proves a festive winner
Always a popular choice for gifts, the Sound, Picture & Technology category saw a sales rise of 10.0% lfl in December. In line with the continuing popularity of all things sports related, Fitbits were a hit at Centrale in Croydon, whilst tech savvy shoppers at Bullring chose to invest in the latest audio technology, with wireless headphones flying off the shelves.
Festive coffees go down well with shoppers
The nation’s love for festive flavoured hot drinks made cafes and coffee shops a popular choice in December. In between shopping for gifts, party outfits and festive home essentials, visitors at our centres clearly made time for a festive drink and bite to eat, with lfl sales at cafes and takeaways up 1.8% in the month.
Brent Cross outperforms in Click & Collect
Having rolled out dedicated Click & Collect points across all UK shopping centres, figures covering the last 12 months show that the growth of Click & Collect shows no sign of slowing down. Brent Cross is now ranked second for Collect+ volumes, processing almost 600 parcels in the final week of December alone, outperforming any other shopping centre in the Collect+ portfolio.
Commenting on the latest HART data, Hammerson CEO, David Atkins, said:
“It is encouraging to see positive momentum in consumer spending during the all-important festive trading period. This is no doubt a reflection of the quality and depth of our offer across our leading shopping centres. Providing shoppers with the best line up of retailers is evidently key to this, but customers are looking for much more of an experience, and it’s clear that the festive themed events we hosted across our retail destinations proved a big pull for customers. Sports and technology have been consistent performers throughout 2016, and department stores have also benefitted from the festive rush.
“With the huge success of Click & Collect across our centres, it is clear that our omnichannel strategy is succeeding in blurring the line between physical and digital and I am delighted to see our centres rank so highly in the Collect+ portfolio.”