Easter weekend spending and footfall rise defies high street gloom

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Regent Street and other major shopping streets in the West End saw an increase in footfall (Source: Getty)

The UK's retail sector enjoyed a much needed boost over the Easter weekend with both footfall and card spending seeing a year-on-year rise.

London's West End experienced a surge in shoppers over the holiday period, with a footfall increase of 6.8 per cent between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

This compares with a 1.2 per cent year-on-year increase in footfall across the whole country between Friday and Sunday, according to new figures from Springboard.

By midday yesterday, Easter Monday footfall across the UK was also up, showing an increase of 3.4 per cent on the previous year.

Kyle Monk, head of insights at the New West End Company, which represents Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street, said: “A currency advantage for overseas visitors has undoubtedly helped to reinforce the attractiveness of our iconic streets as a destination to shop and to take advantage of the seasonal sales.”

The volume of in-store purchases nationwide also jumped by 14 per cent on the year, as part of an overall spending increase of 13 per cent on Friday and Saturday, according to Barclaycard. Consumers also spent more, as the value of payments rose by 4 per cent.

Paul Lockstone, managing director at Barclaycard, said: “A comparatively milder and later holiday weekend prompted consumers to make more purchases, although the lower rise in transaction values suggests part of the appeal was down to the discounting seen across the high street.”

Ecommerce continued to outstrip in-store shopping over the Easter period, with Barclaycard reporting that online transactions jumped 26 per cent compared to Easter 2016.

Consumers continued the trend of splashing out on experiences. Barclaycard found that the number of leisure and entertainment transactions was up 16 per cent, compared to an increase of 12 per cent in retail. Four in 10 (42 per cent) Brits booked a meal out this Easter, while over a third (36 per cent) coughed up for a family outing, such as a trip to the zoo or a theme park.

Diane Wehrle, Springboard's insights director, said: “The trend for increased footfall outside of retail hours continues, indicating food and beverage outlets are a key driver of shopper footfall. On Good Friday, footfall dropped 8.2 per cent between 9am and 5pm, year on year, but post 5pm dropped just 1.3 per cent.”

However, the gloom hanging over the UK's retail parks and shopping centres showed no signs of abating, as footfall at these sites decreased 2.3 per cent and 8 per cent respectively over the weekend.

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