April enjoyed the strongest year-on-year rise in retail footfall for over five years, according to figures just released.
Footfall levels were up markedly by 4.4% on April 2008 and up by 7.6% month-on-month against March this year, according to The Synovate Retail Traffic Index.
However, Synovate retail psychologist Dr Tim Denison tempered the good news. “Whilst we’re delighted with the healthy year-on-year and month-on-month uplifts, we would be ill-advised to see the figures as sure signs of the long-awaited ‘green shoots of recovery’,” he said.
“The month in which Easter falls (April this year and March last year) flatters this year’s figures somewhat. Clement weather conditions around the country have been kind too, and so home furnishings, garden centres and DIY have all benefited from the until-now repressed ‘spring-clean’ mentality.
“More unusual than either of these factors though is the boost that we believe has been given to local retailers by the ‘stay at home’ policy that people have adopted during the spring breaks. Rather than choose to hop on a plane and pick up on holiday offers abroad, it seems many of us have been very happy this year to stay put, enjoy days out or pursue short breaks within the UK, which has certainly bolstered local business.”