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Bleak month for retailers as snow drives shoppers away

High Street Retail

UK stores suffered another blow in March as the ‘beast from the east’ contributed to the heaviest year-on-year drop in footfall since records began a decade ago.

The number of people entering non-food outlets fell by -11.5% last month compared to the same period last year. As blizzards and heavy snow continued to grip the country during the first week of March, retailers experienced nearly a -29% decline in footfall against the same week in 2017.

The figures, from Ipsos Retail Performance, show that footfall has now fallen for the eleventh consecutive month. Worst hit was South East England and London, which saw a -15.5% drop, followed by Scotland and Northern Ireland with -13.4% and The Midlands at -12.3%.

Ipsos Retail Performance, the global retail and footfall consultant, compiles the Retail Traffic Index (RTI), which is derived from the number of individual shoppers entering over 4,000 non-food retail stores across the UK.

Despite falling in March, Easter footfall also failed to deliver, with every region across the country performing badly compared to last year. Nationally, store visits fell by -6.4%, although Yorkshire and Humberside and the North West saw the most dramatic declines of -10.5% and -8.8% respectively. The Midlands, however, fared better with a relatively modest fall of -2.2%.

Download our free weathermap for a clear picture of footfall in the UK and the outlook for this month 

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