Shoppers stay away from UK high streets over Easter

BRITISH shoppers did not hit the high streets in their expected numbers over the first days of the Easter bank holiday weekend, but there were signs that more people had headed to the shops yesterday.

Retail data firm Springboard says that average footfall across high streets, shopping centres and retail parks was down 7.6 per cent on Friday and 8.7 per cent on Saturday, compared to Easter last year.

“Even good weather was not enough to encourage people to go out and spend. These figures are surprising, but people may have chosen to spend their Easter doing activities other than shopping,” said Diane Wehrle of Springboard.

But Wehrle told City A.M. that there were signs of a turnaround yesterday, and that at one o’clock footfall was up by around 12 per cent. However, traffic would have to recover significantly to meet the forecast for a 9.5 per cent footfall boost that Springboard projected for the weekend.

Despite retail disappointment, a survey released today suggests that lower inflation is also boosting confidence, with the price growth of essentials like food and fuel slowing down.

Lloyds Bank’s latest spending power report shows consumer sentiment at its strongest level since at least 2010, when the surveys began. In the past year, confidence in the labour and housing markets have improved markedly. The balance of people who have an optimistic view of the housing market has risen by 44 percentage points in the last 12 months, with only eight per cent more now negative about the situation.

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