Easter sunshine brought shoppers out to buy on the high street, new figures suggest. But shopping centres and even retail parks missed out, compared to last year’s windy and rainy Easter.
The number of people visiting shops rose throughout the weekend, with footfall up on Good Friday (+6.5%), Easter Saturday (1.2%) and Monday (8.4% by noon), according to Springboard. The rise came as Easter weather broke records on both Easter Sunday in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, according to The Guardian, while Monday saw record temperatures of 25C (77F) at Heathrow, Northolt and Wisley, according to the BBC.
But the benefit of this year’s warm weather was mostly felt on the high street, where footfall rose by 19.1% on Good Friday, 8.8% on Easter Saturday, 16.5% on Easter Sunday and 16.3% on Easter Monday. That’s in contrast to last Easter, when high street footfall was down by 9.6% on Friday and 6.9% on Saturday amid rainy and windy March conditions.
This year’s good weather encouraged shoppers outside to buy – rather than staying at home to buy online, or even going indoors to shopping centres or driving to retail parks. This year shopping centre footfall fell both on Good Friday (-11%) and Easter Saturday (-11.8%) while retail park visitor numbers were also down.
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 by -2.4% on Good Friday and -1.3% on Easter Saturday from the same days last year.”
Good weather seems to have been the determining factor, since a rainy Easter 2019 had the opposite effect on footfall. Last year, retail park footfall was up by 4.4% on Good Friday and by 0.5% on Easter Saturday, while visitor numbers to shopping centres were up by 5.8% on Good Friday and by 1.5% on Easter Saturday - as high street numbers fell.