Report: U.K. holiday shopping outpaces last year

London -- A report released Thursday by the International Council of Shopping Centers and Path Intelligence showed that U.K. consumers stepped up their pace of holiday shopping over the week ended Dec. 23.

The Path Index—which melds shopping-center footfall and the time spent per visitor into a shopper-hours index—rose by 7.9% from the prior week to its highest reading of 2012 at 151.3 (January 8, 2012 = 100) for the period ending Sunday, Dec. 23.

The index also was 1.4% higher than the comparable week of 2011 and was the highest reading since the index inception in January 2011.

Cumulatively and compared to the prior year for the weeks of December to date, the Path Index is 3.8% below its average shopper-hours for the comparable weeks. However, given that Christmas Eve afforded consumers one-more day of shopping—even though retail centers generally close earlier than normal on Christmas Eve—that business will be captured in the index for the week ending December 30.

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