THE UK experienced the coldest Easter on record but Britons still took to the high streets and shopping centres in force, with footfall ahead of last year, two reports released yesterday showed.
Despite freezing temperatures, visitor numbers rose six per cent over Good Friday and Easter Saturday compared to last year according to retail experts Springboard, which monitors footfall over 85 towns and cities.
Shopping centres saw the biggest rise in footfall, with visitors up 7.35 per cent, followed by high streets – up 6.65 per cent – and out-of-town retail parks, where numbers increased four per cent.
The rise in shoppers will come as welcome relief to retailers, who feared that an unseasonably cold Easter would mean that consumers already struggling with high inflation and muted wage growth would further rein in their spending.
Diane Wehrle, retail insights director at Springboard, said: “This Easter hit after a payday weekend, and struggling retailers will be thankful for that.”
A rise in international spenders, particularly from the US, the Nordics and France, also helped drive £75m through retailers’ tills in London’s West End over the weekend.
The New West End Company, which represents 600 retailers on Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street, said footfall rose by 2.3 per cent over the first two days.
Saturday alone saw a 7.4 per cent leap in visitors to the area compared with last year.