Feb 18, 2020
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Two major storms dent UK retail footfall says Ipsos Retail Performance

Feb 18, 2020

The February retail sales and footfall figures aren’t due for a couple of weeks yet but it looks like they’re going to be bad. On Tuesday, Ipsos Retail Performance said that Storms Ciara and Dennis, which hit the UK over the last two weekends, made a big impact on footfall.

Two major wind and rain storms battered the UK this month

Storm Ciara, which battered the UK during the weekend of 8 February, saw retail footfall down 15.3% across the country as a whole. But the most affected region was the North West of England, with footfall down an even bigger 18.3% year-on-year.

Country-wide, Storm Dennis, which hit during the weekend of 15 February, dented footfall even more with a total drop of 16.3%. Again, there were some areas that suffered disproportionately, with the South West and West Midlands the most affected, seeing visitor traffic drops of 23.5% and 20.8% respectively.

But Ipsos Retail Performance’s director of retail intelligence Dr Tim Denison said there have been years in which the weather had even more of a negative effect. “The two weekends had similar impacts at a UK level, as you might expect,” he explained. “This is quite typical of the impact on footfall of major winter storms, though not as dramatic as white-outs of previous years. Dennis’s impact was more localised given the storm was more about rainfall than windy conditions”.

The weather is frequently blamed by fashion retailers worldwide for denting their sales, with less justification at some times that at others. It will be interesting to see whether the storms had a related booster effect on webstore sales.

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