Jul 1, 2021
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Retail recovery to continue in Q3, but still lags 2019 says Ipsos

Jul 1, 2021

Uplifting news for UK non-food retailers. Footfall will continue to strengthen over the summer, reaching almost three-quarters of its 2019 level in Q3, retail analyst Ipsos predicted this week.

Photo: Nigel Taylor

The upbeat view comes after its Retail Traffic Index got projections for store recovery over Q2 spot on. Then, footfall ran at about two-thirds of 2019 levels since the national reopening.

But even though an almost 75% level is encouraging news for the retail sector, it still shows how much ground retailers have to make up just to get back to where they were two years ago. Some of the lower footfall will be balanced out by consumers buying more online, but even if retailers manage to make up for lost physical sales via their webstores, they continue to face a dilemma regarding their bricks and mortar stores.

With fewer sales coming via the shops, in some cases the costs just can't be supported and the news this week that Gap is to close its entire UK and Ireland store estate to go online-only in the British Isles underlines that fact.

But back with the good news, Ipsos cited the rapid rollout of vaccinations, steps retailers have put in place to safeguard their customers and colleagues, the release of pent-up demand, and consumers dipping into the household savings that have all contributed to retail rallying over April, May and into June.  

Dr Tim Denison, head of retail analytics and insight at Ipsos, said: "We fully expect footfall levels to continue to recuperate in quarter three. The planned lifting of remaining restrictions in July will increase retail’s competition with hospitality, entertainment and leisure for a share of disposable income, but despite this, our latest forecast indicates that footfall will come back to almost three-quarters of its 2019 level in the quarter (74.5%)”.

He added: “Consumer confidence continues to re-build, now standing at its highest level since the first lockdown, employment levels remain buoyant and Britain is re-discovering its fondness for one of its most popular social pastimes”.

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