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Retailers hoping for Easter footfall bounce

New figures have predicted that retail footfall will rise by 5.4% over the Easter weekend. The forecast by Springboard comes as the retail intelligence firm found that UK retail footfall increased 1.2% year-on-year in March to break a six-month consecutive decline in figures.

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Retailers hoping for Easter footfall bounce

The company said Easter footfall will be influenced by the timing of national payday, mild spring weather and the continued trend for consumer spending focused on leisure and hospitality trips. This means the period is expected to outperform Easter last year when footfall dropped by 1.9% overall.

Springboard’s insights director Diane Wehrle said: “Last year Easter took place on 25 March, a few days in advance of national payday for many shoppers. This combined with poor weather conditions, impacted footfall, which declined across retail destinations from Easter Saturday onwards.

“Mild spring weather is forecast for this Easter, which falls after the national payday. This strongly indicates that more shoppers will visit retail destinations over the weekend compared with last year; on Good Friday last year – the one day of the weekend with good weather – footfall on high streets increased 16.4% compared to Good Friday 2015.”

Easter’s forecast is supported by March’s positive performance across all retail destinations in comparison to February. UK high street footfall increased 1.7% and retail parks saw an uplift of 1.4%. Meanwhile, shopping centres saw marginal growth of 0.2%.

Wehrle added: “The key drivers of consumer spend, confidence and inflation, have worsened over Q1 2017 from Q1 last year, which is likely to be constraining shoppers' willingness to spend on retail goods. This, together with the increasing importance of leisure and hospitality trips, is likely to bring about uplifts in spend in food and beverage outlets.”

Springboard is predicting that most of Easter’s forecasted increase will derive from an 8.8% uplift in high street footfall. Footfall in retail parks is forecast to increase by 3.5% while shopping centres are expected to see a rise of 0.1%.

The firm's figures show that historically, 25% of bricks and mortar sales over Easter are made in fashion retailers with only 10% being made amongst food and beverage outlets. However, this year Springboard forecasts sales in food and beverage to increase to 15% of the total, with a drop in sales in fashion to around 20%. This is due to more conservative consumer spending on retail goods and increased preference for spending on experiences.

Meanwhile,ecommerce data specialist PCA Predict is forecasting that online transactions will increase by an average of 17% over the three Easter trading days, with the greatest increase of 20% forecast for Easter Monday.

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