UK footfall holds up in October, shoppers shrug off inflation
The UK is continuing to shop with the Brexit effect still proving negligible, according to the October Retail Traffic Index (RTI) figures from analyst, Ipsos Retail Performance.
During October, average weekly footfall in the non-food sector was up 4.2% compared to September, which is double the September-to-October average uplift since 2010. And while the year-on-year RTI was down 1.9% compared to October 2015, it tightened the year-to-date gap, which now stands down 2.6% compared to 2015.
The month’s statistics would have been stronger, but for a poor footfall performance over school half-term week, which was down 6% on the corresponding week of 2015.
Dr Tim Denison, director of retail intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance said there has been a lot of talk of a strengthening economic headwind, “but it is important to remind ourselves of the current reality – people have taken the Brexit decision in their stride and are carrying on going about their daily shopping routine as normal.
“Economic fundamentals are strong, we have now had two consecutive years of real wage growth and some of that extra disposable income is finding its way into store tills. Retail teams are working harder than ever to ensure that remains the case. One month into the ‘golden quarter’, demand is holding up well. If it stays on a similar path, retailers will have cause to celebrate the results of the festive season.”
Around the country, London and the South East continued its impressive return to form, leading the regions with only a 1.4% dip against October 2015, while the North of England had the biggest improvement on September with a leap of 6.4%.
Denison said the jump in inflation to 1% last month presented the first test of shopper resilience: “On current evidence though it is hard to think that it will affect the stride of shoppers over the next couple of months. Black Friday is fast approaching and retailers will be determined to make it their most successful one yet. We are anticipating the bulk of the growth to come from online and mobile in particular. We could well see non-store sales this year approaching double the £1bn figure achieved last year.
Ipsos Retail Performance compiles the Retail Traffic Index (RTI) from the number of individual shoppers entering over 4,000 non-food retail stores across the UK.
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