Ipsos Retail Performance has released its latest monthly report forecasting footfall in UK retail environments, tracking the changes from March to April across the regions of the UK.

Following a slightly rosier March than that of February, whereby average footfall increased by 5.6% in Scotland and Northern Ireland with average footfall increasing across the UK by 2.9%, kicking off a recovery in footfall and retail consumption as the weather improves and consumers’ bank accounts recover from the Christmas spending sprees.

Northern England continues to trail the pack, with the region seeing the weakest footfall, experiencing a sharp decline of 1.4% last month and 3.4% this month. The Midlands out-performs much of the rest of the UK this month with the highest regional increase in footfall at 2.6% breaking out from a paltry 0.2% increase last month, with London coming in second place with a respectable 1.5% growth. The overall increase in footfall is overwhelmingly positive at an increase of 5.2% and builds on the tentative March recovery. Though the UK as a whole is moving ahead, the regions outside South East and Middle England lag behind.

As the weather improves there will likely be higher levels of footfall as consumers take to the streets, consuming higher levels of experiential goods and purchase new clothing for the summer months. The contraction of footfall seen in the early months of 2017 looks to be over. However, strong economic headwinds in the form of reduced purchasing power and Brexit uncertainty continue to beleaguer the north and the retail environment generally, as such, the footfall recovery may well be shallower than it might otherwise be.

By Alasdair Pocock, Retail Research Analyst at Bayfield Training
Ipsos Retail Performance