Easter sunshine does little to boost April footfall

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// Footfall in April down by 2.9%, according to the latest Retail Traffic Index
// Footfall around the Easter fortnight in particular was down 8.5%

The latest footfall figures for April proved to be dismal according to one index, as experts noted there was no growth after they expected a later Easter this year would provide a significant boost.

According to Ipsos Retail Performance’s latest Retail Traffic Index, April footfall fell by 2.9 per cent year-on-year – quieter than the forecast of a 0.3 per cent decline.

The index also showed that footfall over the Easter fortnight plunged 8.5 per cent year-on-year.

Experts expected Easter falling at a later time this year to have provided an eight per cent boost to footfall compared to the same April fortnight of the previous year, but this year there was no registered growth.

“Traditionally a late Easter is a great fillip to the DIY and garden centre sector, as householders jump to spring cleaning their homes and tidying their gardens,” Ipsos Retail Performance retail intelligence director Dr Tim Denison said.

“The sun and record temperatures put pay to that this year with paint pots and lawnmowers being swapped for buckets and spades.

“You can’t really blame consumers for choosing sunshine over shopping as their means of therapy over Easter.”

He added: “April’s results are all the more disappointing for stores given that footfall in Q1 delivered a recovery in the year-on-year trend.

“The first three months of 2019 saw footfall decline by only 1.1 per cent on the same period the year before, compared to a 3.9 per cent deficit in Q4 2018.

“The changing time of Easter every year makes trend paths difficult to establish at this time of year, but given we would have anticipated April’s footfall to be up on last year, the outlook doesn’t look too favourable for May.”

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