Christmas shopping week was overshadowed by UK rail strikes | Daily News Byte

Christmas shopping week was overshadowed by UK rail strikes

 | Daily News Byte

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(Bloomberg) — British retailers suffered a sharp drop in customers during the peak Christmas sales period, as shoppers stayed home amid widespread rail strikes.

Unions staged walkouts across most of the UK’s train network on Tuesday and Wednesday, with another 48-hour strike on Friday. They are demanding higher wages and opposing changes in working methods.

According to data provider Springboard, footfall at UK retail locations fell by 7.5% this week. The equivalent week in previous years has seen an average increase of 8.5% as Britons rush to buy last-minute gifts.

Shops in town and city centers were hardest hit, down 14% due to fewer people traveling by train. Retail parks increased by 0.3%, as people chose to drive over public transport. Shopping centres, which offer some respite from the cold weather, were also less affected, down just 1.5%.

Central London saw the sharpest drop in shoppers as the capital’s office workers worked from home. Footfall was down 25%, and particularly close to 30% in areas close to London offices.

Retailers have also been affected by the Royal Mail strike, which means some gifts will not be delivered in time for Christmas.

©2022 Bloomberg LP

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