According to retail experts Springboard, Easter weekend UK footfall is forecast to rise by +2.1%, bringing a “sigh of relief” to high streets and retail parks in what has been a challenging year.
The forecast expects a “bounce back” over the key trading period from what was a poor Easter last year.
In 2018, the ‘Beast from the East’ caused retail footfall to drop, particularly in high streets where footfall declined by -7.5% over the weekend as a whole, with drops in excess of -6% every day.
Furthermore, Easter last year was at the end of the month; therefore household budgets were likely to have been restricted due to the pay cycle. This year Easter falls in the middle of the month which could provide more spending leeway for consumers.
The vast majority of the rise in footfall is forecast to come from high streets, where it is predicted that footfall will be +4.1% higher this Easter weekend than last year, footfall in retail parks is also forecast to be +1.7% higher.
The much larger predicted footfall increase in high streets this year is a consequence of an anticipated recovery from the very low comparable last year of -7.5% versus rises of +0.7% in retail parks and +1.5% in shopping centres when poor weather meant that shoppers sought easy to access and covered shopping environments. However, this year footfall over Easter in shopping centres is forecast to drop by -1.9%, an outcome of subdued consumer spending.
Springboard insights director, Diane Wehrle, said: “Despite the forecast degree of uplift in footfall, this is constrained due to subdued consumer spending that currently prevails, therefore the forecast increase of +2.1% does not wholly make up for the drop of -3.3% last Easter.
“With today’s ongoing demand for experience over transaction based trips, many shopping centres are unable to satisfy the needs of their consumers due to a poorer hospitality offer than in high streets.”