The number of people shopping in the traditional way of hitting the high street, improved on a slow February but remained worse than the same period in 2010.

The monthly Retail Performance report, by Synovate, found that footfall dropped by 7% year-on-year in March 2011, but increased by 1.5% month-on-month as consumers seemed happier to spend than in February.

The first quarter of 2011 has seen footfall dropped 4.8% compared to the same time frame in 2010, despite shopper numbers improving on Q4 2010 by 5.6%.

Synovate’s Director of retail intelligence, Dr Tim Denison, said “ The start of 2011 has been challenging for retailers on a number of fronts.

“The loss of five shoppers in every hundred is certainly one of these and it is hurting retailers up and down the country. March was another difficult for footfall. Admittedly March 2010 benefited from having Easter in it, so making this year’s figure look particularly weak.

“Nevertheless we cannot hide from the facts that firstly, shoppers simply haven’t come out of their winter retrenchment yet and, secondly, that consumer confidence is continuing on a downward trajectory.”

The improving weather appears to be having a welcoming impact on the retail industry with John Lewis seeing sales recovering in late March as shoppers began spending on fashion items once again.

Denison added, “Over the next month or so though, we can expect to see some respite. The long awaited arrival of Easter, the royal wedding and the accompanying bank holidays will boost footfall and retail sales. ”

 

Please note the views expressed in this blog are the views of the author, Andre Brown and do not represent the view of Locayta, its employees or its shareholders. For more information about Locayta, visit www.locayta.com