Springboard confirms footfall drop due to UK snow storm
Extreme weather across the UK has piled misery onto fashion retailers with a ‘perfect storm’ of negative factors denting footfall, causing stores to close and dampening consumer enthusiasm for warm-weather spring product.
Specialist footfall tracking firm Springboard said that after weak January and early-to-mid-February footfall, the end of last month was also tough with more weak visitor traffic predicted for early March.
On Sunday when the weather had been cold but dry and clear, footfall rose 5.2% year-on-year, but by Monday when the weather turned even colder and snow was threatened, it dropped 0.6%. Then on snowy Tuesday it was down 11.8% across all retail destinations.
There was a clear regional difference with footfall in the East of England down 16.3% and Scotland seeing an 11.1% drop on Tuesday, while the South West was down only 2.8% and Northern Ireland rose 6.5%.
But Springboard’s insights director Diane Wehrle said those regions that got off lightly earlier in the week would see footfall declines later on as the “ferocious” weather widened its reach to cover the whole country.
As well as denting footfall, the weather presented other major challenges for stores as many store workers were unable to get to their jobs. Blocked roads, train cancellations and closed railway stations mean many workers stayed home and some store operated a skeleton staff.
This led to store closures in the worst hit areas with major shopping mall Meadowhall, in snowy Sheffield, announcing that some of its stores had closed. Both House of Fraser and Debenhams shut early at the mall on Thursday as the worst of snow kicked-in.
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