A small note of optimism after so much gloom
Shopper traffic rose for the first time this year last week, according to analyst house FootFall.

Traffic rose by 1.5 per cent in the week to January 29 compared with the week before. The report sounds a note of optimism after a slew of warnings that the past two months of trading have been the worst for a number of years.

Footfall traffic has beaten the previous year's figures by up to 9.5 per cent since Christmas, but the increase dipped to 2.3 per cent in the third week of January. Year-on-year figures regained their upward momentum, with a gain of 4.8 per cent on last year.

FootFall business planning director David Smyth said: 'Shopper numbers in January were strongly up on a year ago, with January Sales providing much to lure to bargain-seeking consumers. The weaker January sales reported by CBI, viewed together with the strong shopper numbers, indicate that shoppers have remained price conscious and discerning in their spending patterns.

'Despite weak January Sales, retailers echo the consumer confidence with a cautious optimism to the year ahead - albeit with expectations of more modest spending.'

For more details about shopper traffic, including comparisons between the high street and department stores, go to the Market Data section of the site or click here