Multiples, independents and brands have reported a mixed bag of trading over the warm bank holiday weekend, despite an overall year-on-year increase in footfall across the UK.
Sunny weather and an Easter holiday boost led to an annual 3% rise in footfall for the week commencing 14 April. Footfall increased by 6.5% on Friday, 1.2% on Saturday, and 8.4% on Monday, Springboard reported.
The managing director of one leading footwear multiple told Drapers that trade over the weekend had been “better than of late” as a result of the good weather and discounting across the high street. “It’s hard to measure footfall on a true like for like basis, but we think it was up. We did very well online, and kid’s footwear did well too.
“We had a Sale for the last two weeks that ends today – that helped trade quite a lot.”
CEO of one lifestyle and fashion retailer said: “Sales were significantly up year on year in the build up to Easter, over the weekend and also today. There was high footfall particularly outside of London over the weekend and a buoyant, optimistic atmosphere felt from customers.”
Pamela Shiffer, owner of the eponymous premium womenswear independent in Primrose Hill, London said trade picked up over the weekend after a quiet start to the week: “Trade was initially slow at the beginning of the week leading up to the bank holiday, but it increased significantly at the latter end of the week.
“During the bank holiday weekend, we saw an increased number of tourists visiting Primrose Hill, as many of our local customers leave the area to go on holiday. For this reason, I’ve bought in products at lower entry price points for customers wanting to make an instant purchase who would otherwise not buy.”
Louise Markey, owner of womenswear brand LF Markey, which has one shop in Dalston, London, agreed: “We noticed a distinct lack in footfall over Easter in our shop, but we think it’s to do with school holidays rather than warm weather.
“However, trade was still great over the Easter weekend, as we doubled our usual online sales. The physical shop still performed very well on Easter Saturday and Sunday despite the lower footfall. Overall trade was better on the Easter weekend than the build-up.”
Henrietta Rix, co-founder of premium womenswear label Rixo London, said the sun helped sales: “With the warm weather and summer feeling in the air, our trade was definitely better over the bank holiday weekend – in particular, all of our swimwear on the mannequins saw a 50% sales increase.”
However, other independents and brands reported slower trade as shoppers went on holiday or headed to the park rather than the high street.
“We were quiet as our customers tend to go away during the school holidays”, Jo Davies, owner of Wilmslow-based independent Black White Denim said. “Our footfall is determined by the school calendar generally so, with Easter being later this year, our April footfall is down by 15% versus last year, transactional value up 11% and overall revenue down by 5%.”
“We saw a decrease in footfall over the Easter weekend”, Liz Hanley, owner of Magpie’s Nest in Stalybridge, Manchester said. “Good Friday was particularly poor for us this year. We think it was due to good weather taking people out of town for the weekend. Also, the timing of Easter this year compared to last wasn’t as favourable, as last year Easter landed on payday weekend.”
She added: “We aren’t looking forward to the next bank holiday because they affect our trade negatively as we are based in a commuter town and not a tourist destination town.”
Joh Rindom, owner of That Thing in Stokes Croft, Bristol, agreed: “We’ve had quite a quiet weekend at the store. I expect most people have been out enjoying the sun and shopping a little less.
“On the other hand, we’ve seen an increase in sales related to the weather; we’ve sold loads of sunglasses, reusable straws and things like crop tops and crisp white T-shirts.”