Monday figures for Easter footfall confirm weekend gloom
The Easter long holiday weekend started poorly in the UK and it ended with just as much of a whimper, rather than a big bang.
After the rain depressed consumer sentiment on Friday and Saturday, leading to slower visitor traffic to the shops, the wet weather continued to keep shopping off the consumer priority list on Sunday and Monday, according to tracking firm Springboard.
On Easter Monday, the rain meant that visitor numbers to stores across the country were down 6.4% up until 17:00. Sunday had been a little better with total footfall up 1.9%. But given that Sunday was also a day when many stores were closed due to the religious holiday, that small increase was hardly able to rescue the four-day weekend’s figures.
That said, as on Friday and Saturday retail parks and shopping centres that were undercover did benefit from higher footfall than the high streets that were open to all the weather could throw at them.
But this year's figures didn't have anything else in them to cheer up the retail sector. In fact, Springboard said the data points to a reduction in Easter’s importance as a shopping event.
Easter footfall dropped for a third straight year and so “is becoming less important as a key retail trading period," according to the firm.
It will be interesting to see whether that view is borne out next year and whether the much later Easter dates (Easter Sunday will be on April 21 in 2019) might produce any kind of change.
This Easter's shopping has suffered from cold, wet and even snowy weather that has been hanging on from the winter. This has held back interest in spring fashion and led to a large number of discounts at fashion stores across the country. In 2019, it's to be hoped that a stronger chance of warmer weather will allow the fashion sector to market its spring offer in conjunction with Easter more effectively.
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