FOOTFALL activity at the north’s retail hotspots deteriorated between March and April, new data suggests.
The Northern Ireland Retail Consortium (NIRC) said while footfall in April 2023 was 2.9 per cent up on the same month last year, the more recent trend in 2023 was a downward one.
The monthly footfall monitor, produced with data firm Sensormatic IQ, showed footfall slipped 4.1 percentage points in Northern Ireland between March and April this year.
Weaker April data was also recorded in shopping centres and in Belfast city centre.
Footfall in shopping centres was 6.8 per cent up on April 2022, but numbers were weaker than in March.
April footfall in Belfast was 1.6 per cent up year-on-year, but 2.9 percentage points worse than the previous month this year.
It left the total footfall in Northern Ireland during April 2023, down 19.5 per cent on pre-pandemic levels from 2019.
Shopping centres appear to be outperforming town and city centres. The pre-pandemic gap was 6.4 per cent in April for shopping complexes, while Belfast was 23.8 per cent behind its 2019 level.
“The pace of growth last month slackened markedly and was at its weakest level since last November,” said NIRC director Neil Johnston.
“Overall, Northern Ireland’s foot-traffic remained almost a fifth down on pre-pandemic levels, underlining the protracted nature of the challenges facing much of retail.
“What these figures demonstrate beyond doubt is that there is still much work to do sustain and ideally enhance the recovery in Northern Ireland retail.
“Fundamental issues affecting consumer confidence remain and it’s to be hoped there will soon be progress in restoring a devolved government which can take concerted action to support consumers and retail destinations and to help the retail industry continue to recover.”