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Shopper numbers down 3.7% in April

UK shopper numbers dropped by 3.7% last month with Scotland, Wales and London suffering the biggest declines according to research company Experian.

However the fall in shopper numbers was expected because Easter fell in April this year as opposed to March in 2008.

Experian said that the warmer weather in April had also had a negative impact on footfall as April 2008 was wet and cold, which had driven in .

Footfall levels dropped 9.6% in Scotland, fell back 8.5% in the South West and Wales, fell back 6.7% in London and dropped 5% in the North West of the country.

“Despite retailers best efforts to capitalise over Easter, footfall remained subdued,” said Experian FootFall retail analyst Anita Manan.

During the first three months of the year the trading picture was mixed across the retail market however the textile, clothing and footwear sector held up reporting resilient growth of 2.4% in annual sales value growth.

Experian senior UK economist Sunita Bali added: “Experian’s Consumer Sentiment Index indicates that confidence picked up slightly in March, to its highest level since May 2008.

“Although consumers have had the benefit of cuts in the bank rate, this has been offset by a sharp rise in unemployment. We expect annual retail sales volume growth to slow further over the next few months. We expect volumes to decline on an annual basis during 2009 for the first time since the last recession.”

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