Footfall rose in March but the retail industry remains “in the midst of a no splurge culture”, the latest data indicates.
Shopper traffic rose 1.4%, versus a 6% fall in the comparable period last year, and was down 0.3% on a three-month basis, the BRC-Springboard Footfall and Vacancies Monitor showed.
High street footfall advanced 2.5% against a decline of 8.6% in March 2018, and traffic in retail parks was ahead 1.5% versus a fall last year of 1.8%. Shopping centre footfall fell 1% – the 24th month of consecutive decline – compared to a slide of 4.8% in March 2018.
Springboard marketing and insights director Diane Wehrle said: “At first sight the year-on-year rise in footfall in March appears to signify a reverse in trend from the previous two years, when footfall dropped in all but two of the past 22 months.
“However, while news of an improvement in footfall would be most welcome, it is simply not the case and instead the rise should be regarded as an exceptional circumstance relating to a dramatic slump in footfall in March 2018.
“The result clearly indicates that we continue to be in the midst of a no splurge culture. With consumer confidence continuing to languish, shoppers are clearly focused on prudence.”
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Retailers will be relieved to see footfall up from last year, though this is heavily influenced by the weather. While shoppers in 2018 were contending with the Beast from the East, this March has been mild by comparison. Unfortunately, the higher footfall has not translated into higher spending.”