Rise in confidence puts UK retail on the right track

June footfall is expected to continue its path of recovery


The UK retail market benefitted from a rise in consumer and business demand in May, as reflected in the latest footfall figures from Ipsos Retail Performance.

The global retail and footfall consultant compiles the Retail Traffic Index (RTI), which is derived from the number of individual shoppers entering over 4,000 non-food retail stores across the UK. In May the RTI dropped by 2.8% on April and 3.1% year-on-year on May 2013, much in line with expectations, following the busy month of April.

The standout region in the month was the Midlands, which recorded a 0.6% rise in footfall on May 2013. After recovering from the industrial production issues that hurt job security in the Midlands last year, this area of the country has seen a rise of 1.2% for the year-to-date figure on 2013.

For the year to date (January through to May) the year-on-year deficit stands at -1.3%, compared to a gap of - 5.6% at the same point of the year in 2013. The gradual recovery of store footfall reflects the ongoing stability in the economy. Inflation remains low, labour market conditions are improving and disposable income levels continue to edge up following the increased tax thresholds. This consistency in the UK economy has meant consumer and business confidence has gone from strength to strength, and reflected in the strengthening retail market.

“This is always an appropriate time to take stock of the general retail situation in the UK, following Easter, which is always a moving feast,” commented Dr Tim Denison, director at Ipsos Retail Performance.

“Some might expect to see footfall trending ahead of last year in all parts of the country by now, but the fact is that consumers have had six years of austerity and the scars it has left behind take time to heal. Nonetheless our figures show that footfall levels are gradually recovering and it is this longer term trend from which retailers will take most solace.”

June footfall is expected to continue its path of recovery with the launch of the summer sales and the 2014 FIFA World Cup. These events should help to deliver positive year-on-year growth for Q2.

Source: Ipsos Retail Performance