UK store footfall bounces back in January after steep plunge last month
Retailers across the UK enjoyed better footfall results in January after December’s slump as more shoppers flocked to stores to return or exchange Christmas gifts and snatch a bargain in the first week of the month.
According to the Retail Traffic Index, published by Ipsos Retail Performance, footfall fell in January by just 1.4% compared to January last year, after having declined by 9.3% in December.
The growth was underpinned by a 1.2% rise in store traffic in the first seven days of the New Year, marking the first week of year-on-year footfall growth since October 2016.
“This month’s small drop is still a strong outcome and shows that people are not ringing the changes to their everyday lives,” said Ipsos Retail Performance director of intelligence Tim Denison.
Regionally, Scotland & Northern Ireland recorded the best footfall results with a 6.8% rise, and London & the South East also returned positive news with a 1.7% increase. Store footfall declined in the North of England and the Midlands by 2.3% and 4.2% respectively, while South West England & Wales experienced the largest drop, down 5.7% year-on-year.
Looking back on 2016, average weekly footfall ended up dropping 3.8% on the previous year, despite starting strongly. Ipsos predicts the decline to widen to 4.5% this year before recovering to -2.7% in 2018.
Despite rising inflation now heavily eroding into wage rises, “the main ingredients for consumer spending are still largely intact”, said Denison.
“January’s RTI figures serve as a reminder that shopping conditions remain placid. We therefore don’t expect to see demand to take a rapid turn for the worse, nor for the rate of store footfall decline to steepen dramatically in the near future.”
Ipsos measures the amount of people entering over 4,000 non-food retail stores across the UK to create the traffic index.
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