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April footfall dips despite late Easter and improved weather

UK footfall fell 0.1% in April compared with last year, despite retailers hoping the late Easter and improved weather would attract shoppers.

High streets saw the biggest decline, down 1.4%, more than the three-month average of 1.1%, while shopping centres dropped by 0.9%, according to Springboard data. Out-of-town locations saw footfall rise 4%.

The drop comes on the back of a 1.8% rise in March, when footfall to high streets rose 2.6%.

Greater London saw the biggest regional drop, down 3.4%, while Northern Ireland was the most improved, up 12.8% - the highest rise since the series began in December 2012. Scotland also reported its highlighted level of footfall, up 5.2%.

Springboard’s retail insights director Diane Wehrle said: “The drop in footfall in April is disappointing following the increase of 1.8% in March, particularly as the month included the whole of Easter bank holiday period, in contrast with the split over two months last year, and benefited from mild weather, which tends to support activity in retail destinations. 

“The fact that footfall has dropped last month from an increase of 1% in April 2013 against a backdrop of an improved economic situation, strongly suggests a new cautiousness amongst consumers.”

Director general of the British Retail Consortium Helen Dickinson added: “Hopefully the flat footfall growth witnessed in April will prove short-lived, coming as it does after a favourable expansion the month before.”

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