Retailers

Jubilee lifts early-June footfall

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee provided an increase in footfall for non-food stores, according to the latest Retail Traffic Index (RTI).

However the RTI, compiled by Ipsos Retail Performance, showed that there was no ‘bounce’ effect, as there had been following 2011’s royal wedding, with mid-June’s shop visitor figures regulating as many customers continue to be wary of their expenditure on goods and services (and of the unseasonable weather).

Head of retail intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance, Dr Tim Denison, said: “In this current climate, I’m sure many retailers would settle for the level of footfall they experienced in June.

“As predicted in the previous month’s RTI forecast, the Jubilee week – with many people taking the whole week off – resulted in footfall of 5.5 per cent above levels for the same week in 2011.”

Northern England and London and the south east received a greater boost than other areas, with footfall increases of 8.3 per cent and 7.7 per cent respectively. “Figures from PwC suggest that slightly more stores were holding sales, with 73 per cent of retailers selling goods at sale prices at the end of June compared to 70 per cent last year,” added Dr Denison.

“As a consequence, the week commencing 24 June was the second busiest of the year so far – after Easter – and only marginally down (1.4 per cent) on the corresponding week in 2011.

“The summer sales have started strongly, but July’s footfall will be conditioned by how engaged shoppers remain with the deals and how much stock retailers have to shift. With the poor summer weather, there is some hope that sales will help shift summer merchandise.”

A positive impact on retail footfall is anticipated as a result of London’s imminent hosting of the Olympic Games, though long-term assessment remains bleak. Inflation has eased to CPI 2.8 per cent but is still 1.9 per cent above average earnings, meaning that disposable income is still dropping.

Dr Denison concluded: “The economy remains disappointing, and with global uncertainties rising again, consumer confidence remains very low. Events of the summer may help to energise shoppers over the odd few weeks, particularly if the weather improves, but it’s going to take genuine economic growth to shift sentiment and belief in personal finance improvements. Unfortunately, there is little sign of this yet.”

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