“A relief & surprise” after better-than-expected dip in January footfall

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“Against our forecast of -1.9 per cent and after such a disappointing December, January’s footfall comes as both a relief and a surprise," Ipsos Retail Performance retail intelligence director Dr Tim Denison said.
// January footfall in non-food stores dips 0.5% against the same month of last year
// This follows a sharp drop in December, according to data from Ipsos Retail Performance
// Original forecast for January was a fall of 1.9%

The UK retail industry breathed a sigh of relief as new footfall figures for January indicate that the year-on-year decline is no where near as bad as originally feared.

According to the latest Retail Traffic Index (RTI) from Ipsos Retail Performance, footfall in non-food stores in the UK fell by just 0.5 per cent year-on-year in January.

Original forecasts indicated footfall was to drop by 1.9 per cent, and follows a poor December when footfall dropped by 7.2 per cent according according to Ipsos, or 2.5 per cent according to Springboard.


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“Against our forecast of -1.9 per cent and after such a disappointing December, January’s footfall comes as both a relief and a surprise,” Ipsos Retail Performance retail intelligence director Dr Tim Denison said.

“The better-than-expected result lends weight to other recent metrics, such as the PMI, indicating an encouraging start to the economy in the new year.

Ipsos said the 0.5 per cent dip recorded last month was attributable to a “particularly strong showing” in the first fortnight of the month when footfall volumes rose 2.2 per cent on the previous year.

Ignoring monthly performances influenced by changes to the timing of Easter, this was the strongest year-on-year result since January 2016.

Meanwhile, for the second consecutive month year-on-year footfall rose in stores in London and South East England.

“Few within the retail sector are expecting the ride in 2020 to be any less bumpy than in the previous three years, despite consumers having a stronger financial footing,” Denison said.

“After the General Election result and the call heeded to ‘get Brexit done’, some might argue that evidence is building that clarity has brought confidence and with it a ‘Boris bounce’.”

He added: “While there may have been some pent-up demand released in January, and perhaps a little more still to come, a retail resurgence is not on the cards in 2020.

“Business conditions will remain similar to last year and consumer behavioural change will be slow.”

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