Stable footfall growth established for UK retailers

UK retail fall rose for the third consecutive month in February, the longest singular period of year-on-year growth since 2007. 

This is according to the Retail Traffic Index (RTI) from global retail and footfall consultant Ipsos Retail Performance, which is derived from the number of individual shoppers entering over 4,000 non-food retail stores across the UK.

In February the RTI increased 2% with every region, except London and The South East, recording localised growth.

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Month-on-month figures held up well, with Northern England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the South West and Wales almost matching January’s level of footfall, when it was boosted by post-Christmas sales. For the nation as a whole retail footfall fell by just 4.9% on January’s level.


Scotland & Northern Ireland recorded the highest growth with a 5.5% increase on the same time last year, while the North of England (4.3%), The Midlands (1.5%) and the South West England & Wales (1.8%) also recorded growth.

The South East and London was the only category to not record year-on-year growth with a 0.4% decline.

Household spending levels are also at their highest level since 2010, which combined with strong consumer confidence, is putting traffic back on the high street.

Ipsos said that due to a relatively mild winter, retailers have benefited from good weather conditions, as a lack of prolonged snow meant people’s shopping habits or their ability to get to the stores was not disrupted.

Tim Denison, director at Ipsos Retail Performance, said that there are “welcome signs” that shoppers are returning to stores, with omni-channel retailing a key driving force.

Denison said: “January ended a decade-long wait for positive growth across every region of the UK, and this upward trend in footfall has continued into February. This spell of positivity is further evidence of the impact of lower food and fuel prices impacting on discretionary spending patterns.

“Overall the short term economic outlook for consumers looks healthy, aided by the anticipation of so-called ‘good’ deflation and this should continue to feed through to retailing.”

The footfall forecast from Ipsos Retail Performance for March is expected to remain unchanged at 2.0% year-on-year.

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