Retailers face faltering high street footfall

Despite reports that footfall on the High Street rose over the Easter weekend it appears to be a result of the good weather and not a return to surging sales.

The latest data from Synovate Retail Performance shows that retail footfall in March in the UK was significantly lower than the same month a year ago.

The Retail Traffic Index (RTI) for the month was 7.0% down compared to March 2010, but up 1.5% on February.

For the first quarter as a whole footfall finished 4.8% lower than quarter one 2010, somewhat better than the 5.6% deficit recorded for the final quarter of 2010.

“The start of 2011 has been challenging for retailers on a number of fronts,” says Dr Tim Denison, director of retail intelligence at Synovate.

“The loss of five shoppers in every hundred is certainly one of these, and it is hurting retailers up and down the country. March was another difficult month for footfall. Admittedly March 2010 benefited from having Easter in it, so making this year’s figure looks particularly weak. Nevertheless we cannot hide from the facts that, firstly, shoppers simply haven’t come out of their winter retrenchment yet and, secondly, that consumer confidence is continuing on a downward trajectory.”

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