Sunshine brings out shoppers

Easter heatwave gives ray of hope to high streets

high street shopping at Easter

Shoppers packed Princes Street, Edinburgh on Sunday (pic: Terry Murden)


Britain’s Easter heatwave has proved a boost to the struggling retail sector with high streets packed with holiday shoppers.

Footfall across retail destinations was up 6.5% on Friday, 1.2% on Saturday and 8.4% on Monday morning, research company Springboard said.

Shoppers hit the stores as Scotland enjoyed its hottest Easter Monday on record with a top temperature of 24.2C (75.5F) in Kinlochewe in Wester Ross. The figure beat the previous high of 21.4C (70.5F) from 2014. It came 24 hours after a peak of 23.4C in Edinburgh broke Scotland’s Easter Sunday record.

Town and city centres were the main beneficiaries of the surge in spending whereas retail parks and shopping malls saw a downturn. Indoor shopping centres were hit particularly hard, with a year-on-year decline in footfall of more than 11% on both Friday and Saturday.

Retail parks, whose garden centres and DIY shops rely on Easter to help see them through much of the year, also saw footfall decline by 2.4% and 1.3% on Friday and Saturday respectively.

Springboard Insights Director Diane Wehrle said “Consumers clearly wanted to be outside enjoying the sun rather than visiting covered malls.

“Even in retail parks, where shoppers gravitate to buy garden furniture and plants, footfall declined from the same days last year.”

Consumer spending has held up in recent weeks with retail sales volumes 6.7% higher in March, the biggest surge in nearly two-and-a-half-years.

UK shoppers were expected to spend £1.1 billion over Easter, a 24% increase on last year, according to comparison site Finder.


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