Consumers flock to high streets on 'Take Back Tuesday' to return unwanted Christmas presents

Footfall was also up 9.7 per cent on Saturday as shoppers made the most of the new year sales

The British public returning unwanted Christmas gifts led to a jump in footfall on high streets last week on ‘Take Back Tuesday’.

More than £200m worth of gifts were expected to be returned on 29 December,  triggering a 5.1 per cent footfall rise on Tuesday 30 December 2014, according to the retail specialist Springboard

A second peak was also scaled on Saturday 2 January 2016, with footfall up 9.7 per cent as shoppers made the most of the new year sales.

Despite the rises, total shopper numbers on the high street dropped  3 per cent between 28 December and New Year’s Day. The decline over the five days continued the trend in 2015 of buyers making fewer trips because of the continued rise of online shopping. Wet weather also deterred some consumers, while shopping centres benefited from the cover offered to shoppers.

Diane Wehrle, marketing director at Springboard, said: “These figures show there is a job to be done on high streets in 2016 to in order for a positive uplift to be realised.

“There is a real opportunity to improve their offer, without overhauling their infrastructure, in a bid to win back shoppers this year and hold off the continued rise of footfall to out-of-town retail parks in particular.”