Synovate’s Retail Traffic Index (RTI) shows that the number of shoppers at non-food stores in the UK grew by 4.4 per cent between March and April, although the figure is down year-on-year.
April’s footfall figure was 4.8 per cent lower than the same month last year, which Synovate’s Director of Retail Intelligence Dr Tim Denison described as “a poor set of statistics”.
Of course, footfall is only one way of measuring the retail industry’s success and there are various indexes that show non-store sales - such as those conducted via the internet - continue to grow on a monthly basis.
However, non-food store retail traffic has been down year-on-year for the last six months, which is not a welcome situation by any means.
“Though retail sales are holding up better than footfall, it is clear that consumer spending is not helping the British economy pull clear of recession in the way that it is in the US,” explained Dr Denison.
“Whilst we share some characteristics over our economic situation, such as high unemployment levels, relatively high inflation rates and record public sector borrowing levels, others are now very different.”
He added that tomorrow’s General Election and the consequent policies of a new government are “damaging consumer confidence” and discouraging Britons from unguarded spending.