In August, the UK non-food retail market recorded one of its strongest months of the year, 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 August the RTI fell by 1.0% year-on-year on August 2013. The rate of footfall decline is now at its shallowest point since May 2010, as the 12 month year-on-year average continued to close.
Excluding the Easter holiday distortions, August represented the strongest performance in terms of footfall since January 2014. This was despite a relatively poor Bank Holiday weekend, as the wet weather contributed to footfall over this period falling -5.3% across the country against the same weekend in 2013. Not all areas of the country struggled, specific parts of the North West posted promising results, with Liverpool almost achieving parity (-0.3%) and Warrington seeing a 0.7% increase over the weekend.
With an increase of 5.6% in August, Scotland and Northern Ireland achieved strong results in terms of year-on-year growth. There was a divide in fortunes between the north and south of the UK as the North of England represented a rise of 0.7%, whilst shops in the southern regions remained significantly quieter than last year with drops in footfall of -3.1% and -3.6% respectively.
“The summer has been a positive period for retailers, and the overall scene is heading towards a mini retail revival”, commented Dr Tim Denison, director at Ipsos Retail Performance.
“With the warmer months well and truly behind us, attention now begins to turn towards Christmas. There is a semblance of stability returning to the high street and it seems unlikely that we are now going to see any interest rate rise before the end of the year, which all bodes well for the festive period.
“Although households are still to feel any significant benefits from the economic recovery, consumer confidence is continuing to build and people are quietly getting on with every day life and that includes shopping.”
Footfall change: August 2014 vs August 2013