June saw the highs and lows of the UK economy, with major events like the Jubilee celebrations and summer sales increasing footfall. However, a mid month slump showed what the UK economy was really like.
The Retail Traffic Index (RTI) monitors the volume of shoppers in non-food stores across the UK. It has shown that retailers have enjoyed a small increase in June footfall due to the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. However, this proved to be short lived as the Diamond Jubilee did not have the three week bounce that the Royal Wedding in 2011 had.
Compiled by Ipsos Retail Performance, the RTI showed that summer sales towards the end of June proved encouraging for a large proportion of shoppers, with increased numbers visiting the highstreet. However, the two weeks in the middle of June saw business return to normal, showing that consumers were still somewhat wary of spending.
“In the current climate, I’m sure many retailers would settle for the level of footfall they experienced in June,” states Dr Tim Denison, Head of Retail Intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance. “As predicted in the month’s RTI forecast, the Jubilee week - with many people electing to take the whole week off - resulted in footfall of 5.5% above levels for the same week of 2011.”
Some parts of the country saw a much better improvement, particularly in the North of England (+8.3%), and London and the South East (+7.7%).
”Figures from PwC suggest that slightly more stores were holding sales, with 73% of retailers selling goods at sale prices at the end of June compared to 70% last year,”explains Dr Denison. “As a consequence, the week commencing the 24th June was the second busiest of the year so far (after Easter), and only marginally down (-1.4%) on the corresponding week of 2011. In the Midlands footfall flourished beyond elsewhere, registering a 0.8% increase on 2011 for the week.”
With the middle two weeks of June matching quite closely to current underlying trend, so hopes for July are not being set very high.
“The summer sales have started strongly, but July’s footfall will be conditioned by how engaged shoppers remain with the deals and how much stock retailers have to shift,” adds Dr Denison. “With the poor summer weather, there is some hope that sales will help shift summer merchandise.”
It is hoped that the summers next major event, the 2012 Olympic Games, will help improve the outlook for the UK economy.