Retail expert MRI Springboard is forecasting a +5.1% boost to footfall over the upcoming Easter Weekend, providing retailers with a much-needed boost amidst the cost-of-living crisis.
Footfall has plateaued in recent weeks as consumers hold out for Easter, with weekly footfall sinking by -2.6% last week as high street footfall slumped to -9.1% below 2022 levels. In contrast, Good Friday expected to have the largest week-on-week rise of +10.3% across all UK retail destinations and up +15% on high streets alone, followed by a rise across all UK destinations of +6.2% on Saturday and a drop in footfall of -3.4% on Easter Monday.
Over the Easter weekend as a whole, MRI Springboard is expecting the biggest rises in footfall to occur in UK high streets (+6.6%) as many towns feature Easter events designed to attract shoppers, and in UK retail parks (+5.1%) as many shoppers use the Easter weekend for home and garden improvements. A more modest rise in footfall of +2.5% from the previous week is forecast in UK shopping centres.
This is a contrast with Easter 2022, when footfall over the Easter weekend was -0.1% lower than the same days in the week before, as consumers made trips to retail destinations in advance of Good Friday. Footfall activity last year will have been heavily influenced by the fact that it was the first Easter without any Covid restrictions, which encouraged consumers to make shopping trips early in the week to be able to socialise with family and friends over the Easter weekend.
MRI Springboard insights director Diane Wehrle commented: “Easter 2023 is more likely to follow long-term trends in footfall over the bank holiday weekend recorded by MRI Springboard over the past 16 years. This trend typically shows increases in footfall from the week before on Good Friday and Easter Saturday, with a drop on Easter Monday, reflecting the fact that many office-based employees are on leave and so are not in their offices on that day.
“We are expecting that footfall will continue to plateau over this week as many consumers hold off from making shopping trips, saving days out for the week of Easter and the Easter weekend itself.
The week-on-week increases in footfall over Easter 2023 means that footfall will be +5% higher than over Easter 2022 – which is not a huge gain from last year, but reflects the downward trend in footfall over recent weeks due to rail and other strikes.
“While the annual rise is forecast to be fairly modest, the good news is that over Easter 2023 the gap from the pre-pandemic footfall level is forecast to disappear, with a marginal rise of +0.1% from Easter 2019, all of which will be driven by Easter Saturday, when footfall is forecast to be +5.5% higher than on Easter Saturday 2019.”
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