Despite a predicted increase of 2.4% in UK retail footfall, the bad weather over the Easter Weekend kept shoppers indoors resulting in an overall drop in shopping.
Springboard, a retail research business that measures the number of people entering stores rather than the volume of sales or how much was spent, believes the number of shoppers on the UK’s high streets fell by 9.6% on Good Friday compared with the same time last year.
The footfall on Saturday 31 March was down by 6.9% year-on-year, and on Easter Sunday 1 April footfall was 1.9% higher.
Bad weather on Easter Monday kept shoppers indoors and the footfall fell by almost 14% year on year.
Retailers hotly anticipated the four-day weekend, which was predicted to increase retail footfall and sales for the first time since Christmas. The timing of many people’s payday before Easter Weekend was expected to boost shopping trips as ‘households were likely to have some discretionary spending budget available that had not yet been spent or allocated’, according to Springboard insight director Diane Wehrle.
“This decline was undoubtedly caused by rain that hit much of the UK in the morning and also likely to be due to the fact that shoppers had already made their trips earlier in the weekend,” she added
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However, according to Wehrle, the numbers were ‘generally pretty good news for retailers’ as many people did go shopping rather than buy online.
Total shop visits across all shopping destinations were down 2.4% on Good Friday compared with last year, and 3% lower on Saturday.
Visits to out-of-town shopping centres and retail parks did better than last year, increasing by more than 5% compared with Good Friday and Easter Saturday in 2017 according to Springboard.
Bad weather triggered a fall in visits across the board on Easter Sunday and Monday.
Wehrle said: “Notwithstanding the rain impacting high-street footfall, the results for shopping centres and retail parks will be a fillip for multiple retailers following the recent tough trading conditions.
She added: “In overall terms, however, footfall is still down compared with Easter last year. Easter footfall also declined in the previous two years, so it is clear that Easter is becoming less important as a key retail trading period.”
According to Wehrle, people were likely to have visited retail parks and shopping centres this year due to a large number of retailers offering discounts after a poor quarter of trading.