British retail traffic lower in April but City shoppers buck the trend

Josh Martin
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London streets were busy with shoppers in April, with footfall up 1.1 per cent on April 2014
LONDONERS haven’t lost the buzz of bargain-hunting, despite the rest of the UK seeing a small drop in shoppers on the High Street.

The British Retail Consortium monthly measure of shopping activity released today found average footfall across the UK in April was 0.8 per cent lower than a year ago, down from a 0.2 per cent rise in March.

Both town centre and shopping centre foot traffic measurements were down, with footfall at malls in April down three per cent compared to the same month in 2014.

However, Greater London showed the greatest improvement, reporting positive footfall growth for the first time since March 2014, up 1.1 per cent year-on-year, as wage and job growth in the capital flow through in to town centres and malls. The figure is 1.6 percentage points above the three month average for the region.

Diane Wehrle, retail insights director at Springboard said Easter had a UK-wide impact: “Only Easter Monday fell in April this year whilst in 2014 the entire Easter weekend did so, and so benefited from the trading advantages this brings.”

Wehrle pointed to the high street shop vacancy rate, which dropped from 10.4 per cent in January, to 10.2 per cent in April, as a positive sign.

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