UK shoppers find their feet in sweltering July heat

July’s Retail Traffic Index from Ipsos Retail Performance recorded a 6.4% increase in July over June in the number of shoppers entering non-food stores across the UK.

“There were more shopping trips made in July than any other month this year so far,” commented Dr Tim Denison, director at Ipsos Retail Performance.

“These results are further evidence that shoppers are gradually finding their feet again as the year wears on. The improvement is neither quick nor strong, but it is steady and becoming more constant. We can’t declare that retail is belting along the road to recovery yet, but we can at least see that traffic lights have turned from red to amber.”

Footfall levels climbed throughout the month, culminating in the week commencing July 21 being the busiest week of the summer to date across the UK as a whole, and second only in 2013 to the first week of the year.

Dr Denison said: “British sporting successes, notably at Wimbledon, on the Tour de France, the Lions tour and in the Ashes series, combined with the arrival of a Royal prince and the welcome return of a traditional summer, have helped raise the spirits of the British public and revive their shopping mojo. Above all else though, it’s the return of some stability in people’s wellbeing which is making the difference.”

Early indications suggest the uplift in footfall and confidence also translated into July’s retail sales, he said. In the latest CBI survey of 60 retailers, 43% said that their year-on-year sales volumes increased in the month, compared to 26% that reported falls, yielding a balance of +17% – the highest result since January.

Southern parts of England continued to deliver the strongest improvements in the footfall comparison. Scotland & Northern Ireland also remained on its recovery path. However, for both Northern England and The Midlands, retail footfall remains in the doldrums, registering the weakest comparison figures for the fourth month in succession.

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