Retailers poised for footfall boost over Easter weekend

Lingerie retailers could be in for a busy Easter weekend, with forecasters predicting an increase in visitor numbers to the UK high street.

Retail intelligence expert Springboard expects retail footfall to rise by 5.4% over the weekend, compared to same trading dates last year, as shoppers make the most of the mild spring weather and March’s payday.

Springboard is predicting that most of Easter’s forecasted increase will derive from an 8.8% uplift in high street footfall. Footfall in retail parks is forecast to increase by 3.5% while shopping centres are expected to see a rise of 0.1%.

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The forecast follows Springboard’s announcement that UK retail footfall increased 1.2% year-on-year in March, breaking a six month decline in what has been a challenging environment industry-wide.

Springboard insights director Diane Wehrle said that due to the timing of national payday before Easter and mild spring weather, this Easter weekend is expected to outperform the same trading period in 2016, when footfall dropped 1.9% overall.

“Last year Easter took place on March 25, 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,” she explained.

Easter’s forecast is supported by March’s positive performance across all retail destinations. UK high street footfall increased 1.7%, retail parks increased 1.4% and shopping centres saw marginal growth of 0.2%.

But retail may not be the key driver of footfall, as data shows that footfall on the high street was much stronger outside of retail trading hours in March.

“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,” explained Wehrle.

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

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