The number of non-food shopping trips in May experienced an unexpected rise of 6.4 per cent compared to April’s figures, according to analyst SPSL’s Retail Traffic Index.
It is the first time May has outperformed April in three years within the non-food sector. The figures also represent a 2.2 per cent jump on figures from May 2007.
Meanwhile, the firm predicts that June will see a flurry of special promotions such as downloadable vouchers, one day or one hour events, summer clearances and stock liquidations, all driving footfall through to September
“Good weather for the first half of May this year boosted shopper numbers considerably, unleashing latent interest especially in seasonal ware,” said SPSL’s retail psychologist, Dr Tim Denison. “We really hadn’t expected such a marked resurgence. Towards the end of the month as the weather turned less favorable, the boost in footfall was sustained by retailers launching ‘catch them while we can’ extra early sales.
“A closer look at the figures asks more questions that it answers. Are we seeing an improvement on trend and a move upwards from the lower shopping plateau that we believe was reached last month? Probably not. First of all the weather in May 2007 was very poor, after a bright April, and consumers stayed home rather than brave it, hoping for blue skies that never came. This has flattered this year’s figures.
Secondly, after a poor March and April this year many retailers have now launched their latest campaigns to capture footfall and convert every browser into a shopper. These include very deep discounting, particularly with higher-priced goods, such as furniture, electronics and home wares.”