The FINANCIAL — Latest retail footfall figures released by Synovate Retail Performance show that the Easter weekend provided a welcome uplift in shopper numbers, falling just short of the levels recorded last year.
Synovate's Retail Traffic Index (RTI) , the UK metric of non-food shopper numbers, was down by 1.1% on Good Friday (2nd April 2010 vs 10th April 2009) and down by 1.3% on Easter Saturday (3rd April 2010 vs 11th April 2009), but up by 0.4% on Bank Holiday Monday (5th April 2010 vs 13th April 2009). Week-on-week numbers were up dramatically on Good Friday and Bank Holiday Monday, by 26.8% and 34.6% respectively, but weaker on Easter Saturday (-5.2%).
"Like the weather, it was a mixed bag for retail activity levels over the holiday weekend", explains Synovate's Director of Retail Intelligence, Dr Tim Denison. "Despite falling a week earlier than last year and lacking its sunshine and warmth, shopper numbers fared remarkably well. That said, with temperatures still more representative of winter than spring, the home improvement and gardening sector is still to burst into life this year. Shopper numbers in the DIY sheds, home improvement shops and garden centre were down by 6.6% over the three day Easter period (Friday, Saturday, Monday) on 2009.
These figures, together with the March results, provide retailers with some comfort, signalling that the level of shopping activity is in touch with last year and not continuing its decline. Shoppers are going quietly about their business, not with the gusto and carefree spirit of yester year, but with a sense of sobriety and careful consideration. They are being rewarded by retailers with eye-catching ranges and the most creative, fit-for-the-times product lines this spring, something that makes me very excited. It seems to me that retailers have found their feet in this new market place, are comfortable in their new skin and are now delivering the goods", claims Denison.