The UK non-food retail market rallied in October, with the month posting the strongest year-on-year rise in footfall since 2004, according to Ipsos Retail Performance.
The retail consultancy, which compiles the Retail Traffic Index (RTI) of the number of individual shoppers entering over 4,000 non-food retail stores across the UK, said the RTI improved 5.7% in October on the previous month and 1.3% year-on-year.
Ipsos commented: “This marked gain will be welcomed by retailers as they move into the golden quarter. The year-on-year rise of 1.3% is the best performance for the month of October since 2004; a sign that both the economy and retail sector are moving in the right direction. Off the back of a September setback, an immediate rise in footfall will re-energise retailers’ confidence looking ahead to the Christmas campaign.”
Dr Tim Denison, director at Ipsos Retail Performance, said: “After a disappointing September, it’s good to see retail footfall bounce back immediately. Official sales figures show that Christmas 2013 was the best for the high street since 2004. With footfall seemingly back on the ascendency, this year is shaping up to be a shade better than 2013 and it couldn’t come at a better time for retailers.
“All of the main indicators of consumer confidence are in an improved position. People are more content with their personal finances and job security, as indicated in the 6% rise in unsecured consumer credit in September.”
The week commencing October 26 was the busiest of the month, with Halloween coinciding with half term for most of the country. Traffic that week was 1.2% busier year-on-year and up 16.6% on the week proceeding.
Dr Tim Denison continued: “It’s clear that consumer spending and corporate investments remain the linchpin of the economy, and that’s likely to remain the case going into an election year. It seems that shoppers are not immediately concerned with the apparent widening trade gap and weakening Eurozone economy, boding well for a good fourth quarter for retailers.”