Sunshine breathes life into retail

UK Retail Traffic Index sees footfall rally in June despite World Cup.

Shoppers entering non-food outlets fell just 2.1 percent year-on-year in June, an increase in footfall of 5.1 percent from May.

The figures were significantly better than the annual comparisons in April and May, which showed a decrease of 4.8 percent and 3.7 percent respectively.

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Synovate Retail Performance’s Retail Intelligence director Dr Tim Denison said: “It is remarkable how warm, sunny days in Britain help bring out the ‘feel good’ factor and encourage us to go out shopping, particularly when they coincide with the arrival of the summer Sales.”

“After a long winter and a spring full of uncertainty, shoppers let the handbrake off a little last month. Though retail footfall in June was still down on last year, the figures were slightly better than we had expected, particular in light of the content of the emergency Budget and the kick-off of the World Cup.”

England’s early departure from the World Cup was apparently a positive occurrence for non-food retailers. This was reflected by shopper numbers, which on the days of England’s three first round matches were down by 12.0% year-on-year for the USA game, 11.2% for the Algeria game and 16.4% for the Slovenia game. Traffic levels also peaked far earlier in the day than normal.

For the second round match against Germany on the afternoon of June 27, shopper numbers were impacted even more significantly, by a 26.9% year-on-year drop.

Denison was also keen to point out that the slight rally in footfall did not necessarily mark the start of a turnaround.

He said: “I believe we are still on track to meet the forecast we made in January, that retail footfall will fall by 3% in 2010 over 2009. The rest of the year is unlikely to see any further progressive decline in retail traffic, but equally, June’s improvement does not mark the start of a turnaround.

“Householders are very much aware of the ongoing frailty of our economy, the austerity measures announced in the coalition Government’s emergency Budget, the growing nervousness about stagnant pay awards and job security, the possible re-activation of a credit squeeze and the sovereign debt crisis, all of which are now bearing down rapidly on the consumer economy.”



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