Published on 16 - April - 2010
Shoppers 'tiptoe' back onto high street but poor weather hits Easter footfallSynovate urges retailers to take heart from 'above seasonal average', despite wet weather resulting in an 8.5% drop in shopper numbers over the first week of Easter.
Shoppers tiptoe back onto the high street, says Synovate.
According to Synovate's Retail Traffic Index (RTI), the number of shoppers entering non-food retail outlets in the UK dropped 1.9% in March against the same month in 2009.
While the latest figures reveal a fall in retail footfall for the fifth consecutive month, encouragingly, the Synovate Retail Traffic Index also reported a month-on-month increase of 3.6% against February.
Synovate director of retail intelligence Tim Denison said: "A year-on-year fall in footfall is never welcome news to retailers, but the March figures indicate that shoppers are showing some signs of emerging from their deep recessionary hibernation. Granted, it is more of a tiptoe than a confident march forward, but some heart can be taken from the uplift on February, above the seasonal average. We need to be mindful of the timing of Easter though, which always makes it difficult to draw strong conclusions about any underlying trend at this time of the year."
The last week of the month, commencing March 28, marked the first week of the Easter holiday fortnight and recorded a 1.7% increase in shopper numbers against the same period last year. However, explained Synovate, against the first week of Easter 2009, the footfall comparison is far less flattering, down 8.5% on the week.
"Poor weather across the country did retailers no favours over the first week of the Easter period," said Dr Denison. "But we should await the outcome of the second week before making any assessment about the level of shopping activity over Easter as a whole."
He concluded: "Shoppers are caught in aspic at the moment. They are unwilling to break out of their subdued behaviour until they know the outcome and policy consequences of the General Election. People are generally aware that tough decisions and actions are ahead for the country, but they don't yet know whether this will impact them this year or next, or how it will affect their individual situations. In the meantime, retailers are tasked with doing what they can to nurture household spending, but there's only so much that can be done with little inherent appetite."
DIYWeek.net does not edit comments which are submitted directly by our users to express their own views. Please report abuse of our comment system here.
© Datateam Business Media Limited 2010. DIY Week.net news articles may be copied or forwarded for individual use only. No other reproduction or distribution is permitted without prior written consent.