Early Easter break offers UK footfall a lift

The early Easter financial institution vacation in March led to UK retail footfall exhibiting “indicators of stabilising” – with a modest rise from February of 1.7% throughout all UK retail locations.

Nonetheless, it signalled the bottom month-on-month rise for that interval within the final decade, in keeping with retail analysts MRI Software program.

Different key findings embrace:

  • The week main as much as Easter offered a wholesome increase in exercise for all UK retail locations, particularly procuring centres and retail parks, the place footfall rose by 10.3% from the week earlier than.
  • Footfall rose year-on-year by 2.7% in all UK retail locations within the 5 weeks from 25 February – 30 March 2024, with excessive streets main the cost as exercise rose by 3.4% versus extra modest rises in retail parks (+3%) and procuring centres (+0.9%). The annual rise aligns with the shifts in key holidays reminiscent of Mom’s Day and Easter.

Jenni Matthews, Head of Advertising at MRI Software program, mentioned: “The mix of the lengthy Easter weekend and payday led to a lift in footfall for UK retail locations (final week, 24-30 March), largely pushed by procuring centres and retail parks. Footfall rose by 6% final week from the week earlier than in all UK retail locations, aligning intently with MRI Software program’s forecast of 6.6% for the week main as much as Easter weekend.

“Purchasing centres and retail parks each led the cost witnessing rises of 10.3%, nonetheless excessive streets noticed a way more modest rise of 1.9%. This was seemingly affected by early week climate disruptions resulting in a decline in exercise by a mean of 1.2% from Sunday (24 March) to Wednesday.

“Retail parks and procuring centres noticed footfall ranges peak by a mean of +26.3% and +18.6% on Thursday and (Good) Friday, respectively, which suggests many have been busy stocking up on Easter groceries and necessities forward of the weekend. As anticipated, footfall subsided by Saturday in retail parks and procuring centres, nonetheless excessive streets witnessed a week-on-week rise of 9.5% – indicating the attractiveness of the Easter festivities happening in lots of UK cities and cities.”

Based on MRI Software program’s newest figures, coastal cities witnessed the best rise in footfall final week from the week earlier than at 17%, which coincided with the beginning of the Easter college holidays in lots of areas, adopted by historic cities (+5.7%) and market cities (+4.8%).

This was a lot larger in comparison with MRI Software program’s Central London ‘Again to Workplace’ benchmark the place footfall declined by 5.3% from the week earlier than final.

Matthews added: “Easter Monday noticed excessive streets emerge because the clear winners with footfall rising by 9.3% in contrast with Easter Monday final 12 months, suggesting many individuals determined to benefit from the great climate and benefit from the Easter sights.

“General footfall rose by 8.5% in all UK retail locations in comparison in opposition to the identical week in 2023, nonetheless this can’t be thought of a real comparability in opposition to Easter week.

“When put next with Easter week in 2023, footfall declined by 5% in all UK retail locations largely influenced by excessive streets seeing footfall drop by 7.5%. This will likely have been influenced by the unpredictable climate seen throughout the UK, particularly within the earlier a part of the week, mixed with many deciding to take holidays.”

Moreover, MRI Software program says that the start of April “shall be met with extra challenges for the retail sector”, as a brand new wave of rail strikes are set to happen from 5-8 April amid the continued Easter college holidays.

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