The impact of the recent bank holidays and the royal wedding on the retail industry has been widely debated in the last few weeks, but data released today by market analysts Experian suggested there was a negative effect on footfall.
Experian’s Footfall Index for the seven days to May 1st showed that the number of people visiting shopping centres and retail parks fell four per cent and 0.8 per cent year-on-year respectively.
Week-on-week footfall was actually up 0.1 and 0.8 per cent, which suggests that the sunshine did encourage some people to head to the shops last week.
Retailers Retail Gazette spoke to revealed a mixed response to the royal wedding in terms of how it would impact sales.
CEO of shirt-maker Charles Tyrwhitt Nick Wheeler said that his business had planned for a fall in trading activity for the weekend, but Superdrug’s Commercial Director Steve Jebson noted that there had been strong sales of products related to celebrating the wedding such as red and white hairspray.
Reflecting on today’s published figures, Jordan Byrnes, from Experian’s Product Management & Consultancy department, commented: “Bank holiday Monday saw footfall drop by 14.4 per cent year-on-year which was slightly better than the predicted value of -25 per cent, which is what we’ve seen over the past three years.
“Tuesday was up by 15.2 per cent, Wednesday by 9.7 per cent and Thursday by 21.4 per cent, perhaps shoppers stocking up and getting prepared for Friday’s festivities.”
Shopping centres appeared quiet on the day of the wedding itself, perhaps unsurprisingly considering the millions of UK households that tuned in to the event on their televisions and million or so people who lined the streets of London to celebrate.
Byrnes added: “The royal wedding Friday saw footfall fall by 33 per cent which was down over twice the predicted value of -16 per cent.
“The predicted footfall for the Friday was based on three years average of Good Friday’s, the closest base to measure upon, but it seems the attraction of this unique event repelled more people away from the shopping centres than thought.”