High Streets Initiative · 18 April 2017

Strong Easter footfall boosts retailers as shoppers flock to high streets

Easter footfall
Strong Easter footfall – the number of visits to retail destinations – brought a sales boost to many independent retailers

High street retailers enjoyed greater Easter footfall this year than in 2016, as industry experts attribute warm weather and growing tourist spending power to rising sales.

According to figures from retail intelligence group Springboard, footfall on Easter Saturday increased by 4.6 per cent on the same day in 2016.

While high street visitors on Good Friday fell by 5.9 per cent, British shoppers were keen to make the most of the holiday, with a 1.8 per cent increase in footfall on Easter Sunday. By midday on Easter Monday, footfall had increased year-on-year by 3.4 per cent.

Sales data from Barclaycard confirmed a 14 per cent yearly increase on in-store purchases, with the value of payments also rising by four per cent.

Commenting on the figures, Diane Werhle, a Springboard director, said mild weather over the Easter weekend encouraged shoppers to flock to retail destinations.

Werhle also highlighted the trend for spending outside of typical retail hours. This, she explained, showed that food and drink outlets were taking a growing portion of high street sales.

“This all lends further evidence to the fact that retail is no longer the sole driver of footfall, with a strong leisure/hospitality offer being a critical element to secure retail success,” Werhle added.

Kyle Monk, head of insights at the New West End Company, an organisation representing London’s major shopping streets, said “currency advantages” of overseas visitors to Britain made high streets more attractive over the Easter period.

Strong Easter footfall at physical destinations were also reflected in online transactions. Barclaycard figures revealed a 26 per cent increase for ecommerce sales on Easter 2016.

Strong Easter footfall followed a successful March for the UK’s bricks and mortar retailers. Figures from the British Retail Consortium showed visits to retail destinations grew at the fastest rate for three years.

Commenting on the strong start to Spring, Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said “the positive growth across most of the country is a reassuring sign for retailers”.

Dickinson added that high streets remained the preferred retail destination of choice for shoppers for a second consecutive month, outperforming retail parks and shopping centres.

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This article is part of a wider campaign called the High Streets Initiative, a new section of Business Advice championing independent and small retailers by identifying the issues that put Britain’s high streets under pressure. Visit our High Streets Initiative section to find out more.

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Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.