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Retailers expected to cash in on ’stay-at-home’ Easter, says Synovate


UNITED KINGDOM — The Synovate Retail Traffic Index (RTI) forecast for the Easter fortnight (5th to 18th April inclusive) released today paints a moderately upbeat picture for retailers. Retail footfall in the UK is predicted to be up by 4.1% against the equivalent Easter fortnight last year (16th to 29th March). If true, this would represent the second largest year-on-year Easter boost in 5 years, and would be in stark contrast to the first couple of months of the year.

According to Synovate retail psychologist Dr Tim Denison, the anticipated uplift will be bolstered by a number of factors, "Last year retailers suffered from the combined effects of the earliest Easter since 1913, some very poor weather and financially stretched consumers being constantly told that the worst was yet to come. This year, however, the dice are falling slightly more favourably for retailers and consumers alike. Easter is later; school holidays are not being artificially disjointed as they were last year and the weather is expected to be somewhat better.

"Other factors are also in play. The weakness of the pound means that more tourists from both the Euro and Dollar zones will be visiting our shores to pick up some real bargains compared to prices at home. The weakness of our economy generally also means fewer people from the UK will be looking to escape and thus spend abroad. As people decide that staying home is the new going out, more of them will be looking to grow their own food and become more self sufficient. Thus, it seems to me, there could well be resurgence in interest and activity in the DIY sector and in garden centres particularly, over Easter. Even relatively big budget home entertainment, white goods and furniture items might receive a much needed ’staying-at-home’ boost.

"We also predict that increasingly cash poor and time rich people will be visiting a greater number of stores to seek out the best bargains. Retailers will be all too conscious that nothing less than compelling promotions will do to kick-start the usual spring boost, so expect much in the way of enticing bargains and heavy Easter promotional activity. We may see a flurry of Christmas-style one day sales and events. The sad recent loss of retailers such as Woolworth’s, MFI and Zavvi should also help boost footfall for those that are still trading.

"The question marks as ever hang over the weather, and whether people have really accepted their new financial situations and are now beginning to resume life within their new ’norms’. It is worth remembering, however, that despite rising unemployment and the negative impact of falling interest rates on savers there will be those for whom mortgage payments have significantly fallen and who could be ’making hay’ while, and if, the sun shines. It appears that so far this year even this fortunate minority has forgotten where the shops are and what to do if they have found them.

"All in all, there are many reasons why retailers can be cautiously optimistic about their Easter trading. There may even be a small pre-budget boost from those expecting Alistair Darling’s Budget statement later in April to bring more pain for many afterwards.

“No one believes yet that the worst is over, but retailers shouldn’t forget to be thankful for and savour the warmth from the first rays of spring sunshine when they break through the cloud.”

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.

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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