Poor weather conditions dampened retailers’ sales during the early part of the crucial Easter trading weekend but there were also some welcome bright spots over the four-day break.
While BDO figures for the week ending April 4 showed overall retail sales up 15.4%, the early fall of Easter this year meant the uplift was against weak comparables.
In the DIY sector, Focus chief executive Bill Grimsey admitted the snow in Scotland and Wales “wasn’t helpful”. He said: “It’s our Christmas. Monday was very good and Tuesday was even better as the sun started to shine. However, it’s still not a great trading environment.”
Ikea UK and Ireland business navigation manager Jon Brewer was more positive as the wet weather drove footfall to the retailer’s stores. “The poor weather worked in our favour and sales were substantially higher compared with Easter last year, particularly on Good Friday and Easter Monday,” he said.
Simon Arora, joint managing director of general merchandiser B&M Bargains said trading was mixed depending on the weather and location, but concluded: “Overall I’m satisfied, we were positive on last year.”
In fashion New Look chief executive Carl McPhail said: “The weather was bad on Thursday and Friday, but we were OK and did budget for the week. We’re expecting better things this week.”
However, one fashion chief executive said: “We have not had any helpful weather at all,” and that it needed the weather to start to improve after a drawn out and particularly cold winter.
Meanwhile, the New West End Company said Friday’s poor weather boosted central London retail sales. Spokesman Jace Tyrrell said retailers reported footfall highs on what it dubbed “Great Friday”, with many West End stores recording double-digit sales increases for the day.