Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

Shopper numbers rise in March

Published: 5 April 2007
Feel-good factor returning after winter hiberation
Shoppers have finally shed their winter blues and hit the shops again in March.

That is the finding of the retail research group, SPSL whose Retail Traffic Index figures show that, for the first time in 12 months, retail footfall is up year-on-year.

In March the RTI stood 1.5% higher than for the same month in 2006; it also showed a 1.1% rise on February this year.

"No doubt the better weather has encouraged people to get out," said Dr. Tim Denison, director at SPSL, "but we would also point to the strengthening feel good factor... a significant number of people will have now paid off their bills from Christmas and feel able to go out shopping again without a sense of guilt."

Springtime focus

SPSL said following months of restraint, and returning strength in the housing market, diy and home improvements would benefit from a Springtime focus.

"The number of people entering diy sheds and homeware stores in March was up by a more impressive 4.0% year-on-year. Notwithstanding the fact that the comparator month last year was weak, this suggests that the interest rate rises are now having little impact on quelling consumers' eagerness to improve their properties with a view to moving up the ladder."

He added that since the depths of January, the footfall trend has been 'on the up' leading to a bullish feeling for the Easter fortnight.
"We forecast that the number of shopping trips made will be 7.3% greater than last year, despite the fact that Easter is a week earlier this year," Mr Denison said.

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