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Retail footfall expected to grow 5.4% over Easter weekend

Retail footfall in the UK is set to increase 5.4 percent over the Easter weekend, according to retail expert Springboard.

The prediction comes after March retail footfall results showed there was a year-on-year increase of 1.2 percent. This increase broke the six-month consecutive decline.

The projected increase was said to be a result of Easter falling after payday and this year’s mild spring weather. Springboard expect this Easter to outperform 2016, which saw footfall drop by 1.9 percent.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “Last year Easter took place on 25 March, a few days in advance of national payday for many shoppers. This combined with poor weather conditions, impacted footfall, which declined across retail destinations from Easter Saturday onwards.

“Mild spring weather is forecast for this Easter, which falls after the national payday. This strongly indicates that more shoppers will visit retail destinations over the weekend compared with last year.”

The forecast is supported by March’s positive performance across all sectors of the retail industry. Footfall on the UK’s high streets rose by 1.7 percent, retail parks saw an increase of 1.4 percent and shopping centres saw a growth of 0.2 percent.

Retail was not a key factor in footfall, as data showed that footfall on the high streets was stronger outside of trading hours than working hours. This indicated that the trend for increased leisure and hospitality trips had more to do with the higher footfall.

Wehrle added: “The key drivers of consumer spend, confidence and inflation, have worsened over Q1 2017 from Q1 last year, which is likely to be constraining shoppers’ willingness to spend on retail goods.

“This, together with the increasing importance of leisure and hospitality trips, is likely to bring about uplifts in spend in food and beverage outlets.”

Springboard projects that most of the forecasted increase in footfall will come from the high street, which is predicted to increase 8.8 percent year-on-year.

However, Springboard predicted that shopping centres will only see a rise of 0.1 percent, arguing that their “inflexibility” as a retail destination to respond to shoppers’ needs and lack of investment were the reasons for the marginal increase.

It is believed that food and beverage sales will increase to 15 percent of the total spend over Easter, due to consumers preferring to pay for experiences rather than goods. This will affect fashion sales which are predicted to drop 20 percent.

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