Surprise hike in shopper numbers

May RTI figures out perform April?s by more than six per cent, confounding trend.
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The number of non-food shopping trips for May was 6.4 per cent higher than those in April, according to the latest Retail Traffic Index figures from SPSL, while also being a 2.2 per cent increase on the same month last year.

It’s the first time in three years that a month has out performed its predecessor, and is an unexpected, yet encouraging, upturn from the downward trend seen in recent months.

SPSL’s retail psychologist, Dr Tim Denison (pictured), said good weather early in the month and extra early sales boosted shopper numbers.

“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,” he also said.

“Beside the unrelenting strain on household finances, the failure of any home nation to reach the finals of Euro 2008 won’t have been lost on retailers. The decision to bring campaigns forward to even earlier than last year and make them even more compelling is designed to boost business and re-engage the shopper, where a major football competition won’t contribute this time around.

“Looking forward we predict that June will see even more special promotions designed to get shoppers out of their homes and into the stores. Expect to see downloadable vouchers, normally only seen at Christmas; one-day or even one-hour events; special warehouse ‘Summer clearances’ and stock liquidations in every sector. Expect a bargain bonanza right through to September.”

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