Gloom continues on High Street

Credit crunch on consumers working its way through to retailers, according to analyst, SPSL.
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Figures from the Retail Traffic Index by SPSL have continued the downbeat Easter trend with a 3.2 per cent drop, year-on-year, in footfall numbers for March.

The results only represented a slight improvement on February’s numbers by 0.8 per cent.

Dr Tim Denison, retail psychologist for SPSL, said the results reflect an early Easter, disrupted school break, nervousness and poor weather.

“I suppose the most positive point from the statistics is that if we take Quarter 1 as a whole, retail traffic was only marginally down on 2007; by 0.4 per cent. I, for one, had fully expected the quarter to be far quieter than that,” Denison said.

“We do continue to see surprisingly high levels of inertia in shopping behaviour, despite all the negative pressures. Plainly old habits die hard.

“However, every day the pinch on the consumer is reportedly more painful and less easy for them to ignore. This will be working its way through to the retailer, where the priority should probably be more about driving cash efficiencies, making every pound generated through the tills deliver that bit more before leaving the business, than purely conserving cash by aborting investment programmes,” he continued.

“Suppliers and manufacturers can expect even tougher trading conditions to come. April will be an unsettling month all round with Easter behind us now and the summer still a long way off.”


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