Diane Wehrle, insights director of Springboard, said: “Easter has been a tale of two halves. Footfall declined on Good Friday by -5.9%, but increased 4.6% on Easter Saturday compared with last year.
“Whilst Easter Sunday is not a retail trading day, footfall on high streets – many of which staged events over Easter – increased 1.8% on Easter Sunday compared with last year.”
The trend for increased footfall outside of retail hours continued, she said, indicating that food and beverage outlets were a key driver.
On Good Friday, footfall dropped -8.2% between 9am and 5pm, year-on-year, but post-5pm dropped just -1.3%. On Easter Saturday, footfall increased 1.3% between 9am and 5pm and rose by a further 18.9% post-5pm.
Diane said: “This is believed to be a consequence of the worsening of consumer confidence and inflation, which has led to more conservative shopper spending on retail goods and an increased preference for spending on experiences.”
She added that this was also a driver of high street success. High streets outperformed retail parks and shopping centres for the weekend, which saw decreases of -2.3% and -8% respectively.
Diane commented: “High streets have led the surge in footfall this Easter due to their adaptability and diverse hospitality offering, which supports their ability to respond to trends more quickly than retail parks and shopping centres.”
Online transactions increased by 12.4% on Good Friday compared with last year, according to PCA Predict, counter-balancing the footfall decline.
This reversed on Easter Saturday when online transactions declined by 4.4%, in line with the increase in footfall. Mobile transactions fuelled online activity, with a 9.9% rise in transactions compared with just 2.5% by tablet, while PC transactions declined by12.7% year on year.
The West End of London performed more favourably this Easter than last, with a rise in footfall of 6.8% from Good Friday and Easter Sunday compared with the same days in 2016.
Kyle Monk, head of insights at New West End Company, representing Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street, said: “A currency advantage for overseas visitors has undoubtedly helped to reinforce the attractiveness of our iconic streets as a destination to shop and to take advantage of the seasonal sales.
“For domestic visitors, the West End remains an incredibly important destination for retail and leisure, heightened by the improvements to its offer and the exciting new brands that continue to open flagship stores.”