Footfall increased 1.6% year-on-year last month, due to Easter falling later this year and the weakened pound driving overseas tourism.
According to the BRC Springboard footfall figures for the four weeks to April 29, shopper numbers increased 5% in the first half of the month – which included Good Friday and Easter Saturday – and dropped 6.4% in the last two weeks.
Over the last three months, footfall has increased 0.7% – marking the first positive three-month average since May 2014 and the highest since February 2012.
Footfall by destination
As per the trend in recent months, high streets attracted the largest increase in visitors as footfall grew 2.3% in April – the fastest growth since March 2014.
In retail parks, shopper numbers grew 2.7%, well ahead of the three-month average of 0.9%.
However, footfall at shopping centres declined 0.6% year-on-year, against a three-month average decline of 0.9%.
The Easter effect
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said footfall in April was boosted by family visits to shopping destinations over the Easter holidays.
And although she notes that the inclusion of the holidays in the period will have distorted the year-on-year figures, she said shopper numbers over the last quarter have been “largely positive”.
Springboard marketing and insights director Diane Wehrle said the rise in footfall was further fuelled by the weakened pound, which drove an increase in overseas tourists.
She added: “The underlying structural shift towards leisure-focused trips meant that whilst high-street footfall rose 1.9% during retail trading hours, trips to high streets after 5pm increased by more than 3%.”