FREEZING weather conditions could negatively impact upon retail footfall during Easter weekend, it has been warned.
Retail analysts Springboard has predicted that Easter footfall could drop as much as 15 per cent on last year if the 'Beast from the East' returns. The freezing conditions predicted by some forecasts, would alter otherwise positive prospects for UK footfall and retailing over Easter, which could 2.4 per cent higher than the same period in last year. Footfall over Easter declined in both 2016 and 2017 by around 2 per cent so an uplift of 2.4 per cent would be a modest one,and would mean that footfall still remains lower than the figure recorded in 2015..
The forecast comes following Springboard’s announcement that the 0.5 per cent decrease in UK retail footfall in February was less than a third of that recorded in January and below the 12 month average decline of 0.7 per cent. The good news comes in the face of a challenging environment for retail, which has seen Toys R Us and electronic goods retailer Maplin plunge into administration in recent weeks.
Springboard insights director, Diane Wehrle believes inclement Easter weather could spell bad news for retail.
“Over the week of the first 'Beast from the East' (wb 25th Feb) footfall declined by 16.6 per cent across all retail destinations, and on the worst hit days by as much as 36 per cent (March 1), averaging -28 per cent over the three days (Thursday to Saturday). And unfortunately, this does not mean that online spending will rise, as experience from the first 'Beast' demonstrated that traffic delays as a consequence of snow and ice led to online transactions declining by 0.7 per cent."
With normal weather conditions, however, Springboard is forecasting that footfall in retail destinations over the Easter weekend could increase, due to a range of factors including the timing of national payday before Easter, the ongoing demand for leisure orientated trips and the bounce back in footfall in February from January and December.
“The timing of national payday before Easter Weekend in 2018 means that households are likely to have some discretionary spending budget available that will not yet have been spent or allocated."
“Recent adverse weather may have resulted in consumers deferring or cancelling shopping trips, while also delaying household spending on garden products and home improvements. If the weather remains mild this Easter weekend, consumers may reinstate cancelled trips for the Easter weekend and are likely to visit garden centres and furniture outlets to refresh homes and gardens, and to fashion stores to browse Spring ranges," she added.