Despite the financial crisis there are still plenty of shoppers about – and plenty of opportunities for creative retailers.
That is the conclusion of analyst SPSL, which has just released its latest Retail Traffic Index figures, which measure the number of shoppers visiting non-food stores.
They show a fall of 0.9% on September 2007 (following a 0.1% year-on-year rise in August) and a rather more stark 11.0% seasonal decline on August’s retail footfall. Quarter 3 also saw a fall of 0.9% against Q3 2007.
However, SPSL’s retail psychologist, Dr Tim Denison says: “Despite so much downbeat news around, the weakness in the economy currently lies more with the corporate sector than with any over-arching failing of the consumer. Shoppers are not intractably becalmed, although they are understandably more cautious while every headline spreads more gloom.
“The RTI has held up remarkably well so far this year, showing that shoppers are still pounding the pavements.”
He adds that consumers are now trading down and making more considered, better researched purchases, particularly on high-ticket items.
“The fact is that there are still many shoppers out on the high street, representing potential sales opportunities for everyone, particularly those with the most tempting offers. The challenge for retailers is making them shop with you rather than go elsewhere.
“This requires better, more intimate, knowledge of customers. It also means engaging with the ever-changing psyche of the shopper, and delivering offers geared at meeting their immediate needs and desires whilst working hard to retain their trust and their future custom too.”