UK shoppers have remained resilient following a month of political upheaval and security fears, with average weekly footfall figures increasing by over 10 per cent in June compared to May.
Terrorist attacks in London and Manchester, coupled with the uncertainty that followed the General Election as well as the Grenfell Tower disaster, failed to deter people from visiting high streets and shopping centres, according to Ipsos Retail Performance’s latest footfall figures.
In the Retail Traffic Index, Ipsos found that average weekly footfall increased by 10.4 per cent in June compared to May – the highest month-on-month increase for June since the index was launched 20 years ago.
The numbers indicate a change in fortunes for UK retailers, who have been plagued by continued poor performances in recent months.
“After failing to see the usual May uplift, June’s figures show that this was merely a delayed start to the usual summer spending spree,” Ipsos retail intelligence director Dr Tim Denison said.
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“In fact, footfall bounced back with record-breaking gusto. Amidst the upheaval and uncertainty that hit the nation last month, consumers responded in the way that they often do: they went shopping.”
Healthy figures were reported across the UK, with south east England and London leading the way. There, retailers saw almost 15 per cent more shoppers in June than in May and footfall rose by four per cent year-on-year, which is the region’s biggest increase in over five years.
Elsewhere, Scotland and Northern Ireland and northern England reported increases of 11.2 per cent and 9.7 per cent respectively.
Denison said growth could have been fuelled by the recent rise in credit card borrowing, and added that while the summer sales would encourage further spending, the impact of rising inflation and lower real earnings will be felt at some point.
Despite this, he thought footfall was holding up well.
“Squeezed margins and high costs are putting retailers under real pressure, so it is reassuring to see this recent growth,” Denison said.
“The second quarter of 2017 has shown major improvements compared to the first quarter, lifting store footfall in the first half of the year ahead of our full year forecast of 4.5 per cent for 2017.”
Ipsos’ figures also showed that retail footfall in the second quarter of the year dropped by one per cent against the same period in 2016, but this was still an improvement on the first quarter when footfall dropped 5.4 per cenr year-on-year.