Wet weather keeps shoppers at home over Easter
Relentless rain (and snow in some parts of the country) discouraged Britons from hitting the shops over the Easter weekend, which had traditionally been seen as the kickstart of the Spring/Summer season in retail.
According to retail intelligence business Springboard, overall shop visits were down 2.4% over the four-day holiday compared to last year (when Easter fell later from 14-17 April).
The high street predictably fared worse with footfall down by 9.6% on Good Friday and by 6.9% on Easter Saturday. Easter Sunday itself proved better with footfall up 1.9% but by Monday footfall had slumped by 6.4% by 5pm.
Shopping centres and retail parks fared better, as shoppers took refuge from the rain, with footfall up 5% on Good Friday and Easter Saturday.
"Despite poor weather, shoppers have definitely been visiting retail destinations this Easter Weekend. Footfall in retail parks and shopping centres increased by 5 percent compared to Good Friday and Easter Saturday last year, but the persistent rain has definitely impacted high streets," said Springboard insights director Diane Wehrle.
“Despite positive results on Easter Sunday, retail footfall [...] on Easter Monday has taken a tumble. This decline was undoubtedly caused by rain that hit much of the UK in the morning and also likely to be due to the fact that shoppers had already made their trips earlier in the weekend,” Wehrle said.
Footfall over Easter has been in decline for three years, suggesting its importance as a key retail trading period is waning. However retailers have been working hard to drive sales ahead of the holiday by building up categories such as seasonal gifts, decorations, food and drink.