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Strongest year-on-year rise in retail footfall for over 5 years, says Synovate


UNITED KINGDOM — The Synovate Retail Traffic Index (RTI) figures for April 2009, released today, show the strongest year-on-year rise in retail footfall for over 5 years, since February 2004. Retail footfall levels were up markedly by 4.4% on April 2008 and up by 7.6% month-on-month against March 2009.

Synovate retail psychologist Dr Tim Denison tempered the good news somewhat, "Whilst we are delighted with the healthy year on year and month on month uplifts, we would be ill-advised to see the figures as sure signs of the long-awaited ’green shoots of recovery’. The month in which Easter falls (April this year and March last year) flatters this year’s figures somewhat. Clement weather conditions around the country have been kind too, and so home furnishings, garden centres and DIY have all benefited from the until-now repressed ’spring-clean’ mentality. More unusual than either of these factors though is the boost that we believe has been given to local retailers by the ’stay at home’ policy that people have adopted during the Spring breaks. Rather than choose to hop on a plane and pick up on holiday offers abroad, it seems many of us have been very happy this year to stay put, enjoy days out or pursue short breaks within the UK, which has certainly bolstered local business.

"Looking ahead for May, we are not anticipating another stellar month, but we believe it will be a steady one, as consumer confidence and the return to the shops continues. Year on year we forecast shopper numbers to be lower by 2.7% over May 2008, on a par with our figure for Quarter 1 released a month ago (N.B. shopper numbers in the full quarter one of 2009 were down 2.6% year-on-year).

“We believe that we are beginning to bounce along the bottom of the downturn rather than continuing to plummet. However the situation is still very fluid and far from stable. There remain huge pressures on shoppers and retailers alike; not least food price inflation, still-rising unemployment, rising vehicle fuel bills and unhelpful exchange rates. Confidence is key to any recovery and it really does seem that people are getting out and about more, and adjusting to the new realities that many have never experienced before.”

Unfortunately Dr Tim Denison is unavailable for interview this month. Enquiries 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.

For more information on Synovate Retail Performance click here:

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 6,700 staff across 62 countries.

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