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RETAILERS STRUGGLE AGAINST HOT WEATHER AND CITY CENTRE PROTESTS

High Street Retail

Protests and hot weather deterred shoppers over the Bank Holiday period, according to the UK-wide Retail Traffic Index published by Ipsos Retail Performance.

Between Good Friday and Bank Holiday Monday, footfall in non-food stores was -8.4% down on last year, including -3.3% in variety/general stores and -5.9% in DIY/homeware stores – both traditional favourites for Bank Holiday sales and spending.

Easter Saturday was particularly disappointing, with a -10.4% decline in footfall when compared to the same day in 2018.

The data comes from Ipsos Retail Performance, the global retail research and analytics specialists, which compiles the Retail Traffic Index (RTI) from the number of shoppers entering over 4,000 non-food retail stores across the UK.

Dr Tim Denison, Director of Retail Intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance, explains how the unseasonable hot weather may have influenced consumer footfall. He said:

“Garden sheds and paint brushes have come off second best to buckets and spades this Bank Holiday. A late Easter normally spells good news for retailers, as shoppers set about sprucing up homes and gardens, but the figures are rather subdued.

“The warm weather is likely to be a contributory factor, as people made the most of the sunshine, venturing out further afield to the countryside and coast for weekend breaks, rather than hitting their local town centres and shops.”

London-centric data also saw a decline in areas affected by the Extinction Rebellion protests, with a -3.1% drop in footfall in the capital’s central shopping destinations that experienced march disruption.

Dr Tim Denison also attributes this to influencing footfall, commenting:

“The recent protests and marches have been very public, impacting public transport and likely to have dissuaded shoppers from venturing out to popular shopping destinations. Instead, we anticipate that the Easter money that would have been spent in the shops will have been diverted to leisure pursuits and activities.”

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