Bank holiday boosted April footfall, May expected to follow suit
The four-day Easter weekend dominated the UK's April’s retail footfall performance, spurring optimism for May, which is hosting three public holidays.
April footfall rose by 7.2% from March, reversing a drop of 2.8% from February to March, latest figures from MRI Springboard show.
Footfall in the week of Good Friday and Easter Saturday jumped 14.2% from the week before, helped by the warm and sunny weather. Footfall dipped in the subsequent week by 10.2%, due to Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, but rose in the third and fourth weeks of the month (+1.7% and +3.8%).
As is generally the case, it was high streets that benefited the most over the Easter period with a rise in footfall of 9.5% from March to April versus +5.1% in retail parks and +4.6% in shopping centres.
The gap in footfall from 2019 also narrowed in April to -12% from -14.9% in March (-15.6% in high streets, -14.2% in shopping centres and -2% in retail parks).
Footfall also increased in April from 12 months ago by 4.7%, versus just 0.7% in March.
MRI Springboard said: “The hope is that the three bank holidays in May – one of which surrounds the once in a lifetime event of the King’s Coronation -- will deliver a further fillip to retail destinations and stores. This will help to offset the loss of weekday footfall that has come about through hybrid working, which is particularly relevant for high streets where in April footfall between Monday and Friday remained 18.2% below the 2019 level versus just 7.2% below 2019 during the weekend."
However, there was also an increase in UK store vacancy rates, rising to 11% over the quarter to April from 10.2% in January, “demonstrating that high streets remain challenged by tight trading conditions, which has resulted in the closure of some businesses”.
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