The Retail Traffic Index blames rain for low shopper numbers.

Rain scared off retail customers in May

The figures from SPSL confirm that May was a quieter month on the high streets and in the shopping malls. The RTI showed a slight year-on-year increase of 0.8% against May 2006, but a fall of 4.5% on April’s figure.

According to Dr. Tim Denison, Director of Knowledge Management at SPSL; “Both the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor and SPSL’s Retail Traffic Index registered a slow down in shopping activity in May. It’s really too early to say whether this is the first real sign that the series of interest rate rises are beginning to bite into the consumer’s pocket, but more likely that it was a result of the extremely wet month.

“We have been expecting a downturn since the beginning of the year on the back of earlier interest rate rises and hikes in household bills, but such has been the resilience of the consumer, fuelled by the continuing surge in the housing market, that this has simply failed to materialise….until perhaps now."

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