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Retail shopper numbers stay out of minus 4% ’drop-zone’, says Synovate


UNITED KINGDOM — The Synovate Retail Traffic Index (RTI) figures for February 2009, released today, show no signs of even the first green shoots for retail recovery yet they do manage to stay out of the minus 4% year-on-year ’drop-zone’. The number of shopping trips made to non-food stores in February was down by 3.4% against the same month a year ago and down by 6.7% on January. This compares with a year on year drop of 3.7% in January against that same month a year ago.

Synovate retail psychologist Dr Tim Denison said, "Much as we would all like to be seeing at least some sign of germination if not actual green shoots of recovery, these figures show that non-food shopping is still down the order on people’s lifestyle and living agenda. There is a sniff of some good news here, however. The first two weeks of February had some very severe weather which curbed many shopping trips, restricting them to essential or local outings only. Given that, we should be somewhat heartened by the figures, which are marginally better than in January, when numbers were down by 3.7% year-on-year.

“In addition, we are not seeing shopper numbers fall into the minus 4% or more year-on-year ’drop-zone’, a figure which we consider to indicate a serious change in shopper behaviour requiring something of a big fix. I think therefore that retailers generally, even in the sectors most hit by the downturn such as furniture, white goods and other big ticket items, should be encouraged by this. I believe that the ball is very much in the retailers’ court. The message is that the shoppers are still coming into your stores, but how can you persuade them to buy from you rather than from anywhere else? I have no doubt that the retailers’ buying, merchandising and operational teams are working extremely hard to answer that very question.”

Denison concluded, “Although it is still difficult to see any signs of retail recovery from our figures retailers continue to have the opportunity to convert visits into sales – a challenge I have no doubt many will successfully rise to.”

All enquiries for follow up or interviews with Dr Tim Denison should be directed to Theo Chalmers at Verve PR on 01908 275271 (weekdays) or 07932 004632.

About Synovate Retail Performance

Synovate Retail Performance is Europe’s leading supplier of scientific footfall monitoring and behavioural analysis systems providing retailers with Key Performance Indicators to measure, manage and improve customer volume, sales opportunities, conversion rates, staff stretch, promotional activity and in-store lay-outs. Part of Synovate Customer Experience, Synovate’s global business practice specialising in the profitable management of the total sum of all customer interactions, Synovate Retail Performance monitors more than 1.02 billion visits to over 5,000 retail premises per annum in the UK and operates in 14 European and North American markets.

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Synovate, the market research arm of Aegis Group plc, generates consumer insights that drive competitive marketing solutions. The network provides clients with cohesive global support and a comprehensive suite of research solutions. Synovate employs over 6,000 staff across 62 countries.

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