Easter sunshine brings shoppers to British physical stores

today Apr 23, 2019
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An unexpected burst of sunshine encouraged UK shoppers to get out and shop over Easter, with footfall across major retail destinations rising as much as 6.5% on Friday, 1.2% on Saturday and 8.4% on Monday morning, specialist tracking company Springboard said. Fashion Network also noted strong visitor traffic in key destinations at the weekend with Bluewater in Kent looking busy and London's Oxford Street also stronger after several days of climate protest disruption that had dented pre-Easter footfall.

Sunshine encouraged UK shoppers out at the weekend

Overall, it seems that town and city centre stores were the biggest beneficiaries of the uptick in demand rather than shopping malls and retail parks, both of which saw footfall dropping on Friday and Saturday, Springboard said. It seems that while the prestige malls like Bluewater attracted plenty of visitors, many smaller malls didn't.

"Consumers clearly wanted to be outside enjoying the sun rather than visiting covered malls," Springboard Insights Director Diane Wehrle said. "Even in retail parks, where shoppers gravitate to buy garden furniture and plants, footfall declined by 2.4% on Good Friday and 1.3% on Easter Saturday from the same days last year."

On Easter Sunday, with all major stores closed, it was only high streets that were able to trade and the opportunity for consumers to enjoy the weather led to a rise in footfall of 16.5% from Easter Sunday 2018 (when the weather was grim and footfall dropped by 1% up to 12pm and then rose marginally by 1.9% across the day as a whole.)

With continuing good weather on Easter Monday, by 12pm footfall in UK retail destinations was 8.4% higher than in 2018. Once again, high streets benefited, seeing a rise of 16.3% versus +1.9% in retail parks and a marginal drop of 1.4% in shopping centres. 

But whether all of this can be enough to rescue what has been a bleak year so far is open to question. And with Brexit uncertainty still affecting consumers, footfall's general trend remains negative.

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