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Easter footfall worse than feared

Retail footfall dropped 9.2% over the Easter fortnight, against Easter fornight last year, far worse than the 5.2% predicted by analysts SPSL.

Figures from the Retail Traffic Index (RTI) by SPSL showed that, even against the same calendar weeks of 2007, the boost from Easter was disappointingly small with shopper numbers up by just 4.7%.

SPSL's retail psychologist Dr Tim Denison said: "All the cards in the pack have fallen against retail this Easter, making it the quietest one this decade. The combination of poor weather, a very early Easter and shortened school breaks over the traditional holiday fortnight; on top of the growing underlying financial pressures on the consumer; put paid to any hope of buoyant Easter trading this year."

Denison said conditions will remain difficult going forward. "Retailers are constantly monitoring their sales and footfall figures to decide whether or not to stimulate trade with short-term price-cutting," he said. "Some have already chosen to go down that route, while others have elected to run clearance campaigns to offload seasonal stock. I have little doubt that this will be the busiest period for many a year for retail marketers and merchandisers, as they respond to increasing head office pressures to build turnover," he added.

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