UK Retailers Suffer in April

Ipsos says that retail performance in the UK was challenging in April; both footfall and the number of stores with conversion rate gains fell compared to last year.

Ipsos’ Retail Traffic Index (RTI) showed that footfall was up 1.1% MoM, but down 4.8% YoY: the widest YoY gap in over two years. Only 46.8% of stores improved their conversion rate (converting browsers into buyers) compared to April 2015, which represents 5.3% MoM fall.

Tim Denison, director of retail intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance, noted that the changeable weather and difference in school holiday timings, compared to previous years, affected retail footfall. “People instead have preferred to do more online browsing in the comfort and warmth of their own homes. This is evident by the number of visits to retail websites growing by double digits on 2015,” he added.

Price rises were also blamed for the lower footfall. Mobile phone tariffs, postage and car parking charges all increased, and petrol prices are also on the way up: 4% higher than they were in January.

All regions felt the decline. Footfall was down the most in the Northern England, followed by Scotland & Northern Ireland (6.4% and 6%, respectively). South East England & London followed (down 5.8%), with the Midlands (down 3.6%) and South West England & Wales (down 1.9%) seeing a shallower decline.