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Footfall in UK retail destinations saw the strongest rise since 2021 as shoppers returned to the high street.

According to data from MRI Software, retail footfall was up 3.7% in May from April, primarily driven by a surge in high street activity where footfall rose by 5.1% following by retail parks (up 3.6%). Shopping centres witnessed a marginal month-on-month rise of 0.8%.

This boost in activity is the greatest month-on-month rise seen since May 2021 (which was up 6.8%), while much of the UK was still going through a recovery period from the pandemic.

The early May bank holiday coupled with warmer weather underpinned the recovery, particularly to high streets where footfall rose week on week by an average of 3.7% in the first two weeks of the month.

While May saw strong footfall performance in comparison to April, the year-on-year trends saw a marginal dip of 0.6%, influenced by a decline in high street (1.2%) and shopping centre (1.4%) footfall.

This was largely due to the three bank holidays that occurred last year, including the King’s coronation.

Retail parks bucked the trend and witnessed a 1.6% rise in footfall year on year, which may well have been boosted by the warmer weather earlier in the month encouraging DIY and barbecue purchases.

Looking ahead, MRI Software said there was much optimism for the retail and hospitality sector with major events including the Euros, Glastonbury, and even Taylor Swift’s Eras tour arriving in the UK likely to boost footfall in various locations across the country.

Morning update

AIM-listed low-sodium salt producer MicroSalt has issued its debut set of results on the stock exchange, posting increased losses on investment in R&D.

Full-year revenues were flat at $ 0.6m while it net loss grew to $ 3.5m from $2.5m reflecting efforts focused on R&D and preparation for the launch of the first two major food manufacturing customers within the company’s B2B business.

The group said 2024 set to be a key year where MicroSalt is expected to receive recurring commercial volume purchase orders for its bulk product, whilst acknowledging the rollout of MicroSalt across new and/or further B2B product lines has been slower than hoped during the current year to date.

It said it had a strong pipeline with significant volume customer prospects at advanced stages with a range of national and multinational companies.

More R&D projects will be undertaken in 2024 focused on three new iterations of MicroSalt to expand its effectiveness across additional food formulas and environments.

Rick Guiney, CEO of MicroSalt, commented: “This has been a transformational year for MicroSalt and with continued evidence of the timeliness and essential nature of its products as it emerged as a recognised and preferred choice for product reformulation globally.

“Our geographic outreach is expanding all the time, now with inroads into Asia, Australia, South Africa, the UK, Germany, Canada and Latin America with a resultant boost to our sales pipeline. Furthermore, our consumer products including SaltMe crisps and MicroSalt shakers have successfully provided a low-sodium alternative for households worldwide, cementing our brand as an essential, generation-spanning choice.

“I am delighted that we can look ahead with the utmost confidence and in eager anticipation of further successes awaiting us.”

On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 has edged up 0.1% to 8,187.3pts.

Risers include Virgin Wines, up 2.4% to 46.1p, Deliveroo, up 1.6% to 140p and Reckitt Benckiser, up 1.3% to 4,345p.

Fallers include Coca-Cola HBC, down 2.7% to 2,659.5p, Hilton Food Group, down 2% to 886p and PZ Cussons, down 1% to 113.3p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 just about continued its run of seven consecutive days of decline, dropping a single point to 8,182.3pts.

Ocado ended its recent good run on reports it is expected to exit the FTSE 100, falling back 12.3% to 360.1p,

Other fallers included Fever-Tree, down 7.1% to 1,048p, Deliveroo, down 6.2% to 137.8p, THG, down 5.4% to 71.1p, Just Eat, down 4.2% to 1,016p and PZ Cussons, down 2.4% to 114.4p.

Pets at Home, which reported annual results yesterday, ended the day down 1.6% to 279p.

Risers yesterday included Greencore, up 2.2% to 170.4p, Kerry Group, up 1.4% to €77.90, Naked Wines, up 1.4% to 65.5p, Associated British Foods, up 1% to 2,667p and B&M European Value Retail, up 0.9% to 543.2p.