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Easter falling at the end of the March failed to reverse the ongoing decline in retail footfall in 2024, according to the latest data from BRC-Sensormatic IQ.

The BRC-Sensormatic IQ footfall monitor for March found total UK footfall decreased by 1.3% in March, albeit that was up from –6.2% in February.

High street footfall decreased by 1.5% in March, up from a decline of 9.3% in February.

Retail park shopping numbers were down 3.5% in March, up from a fall of 5.8% in February.

Shopping centre footfall increased by 0.3% in March, a reverse of a 7% decline in the previous month.

Helen Dickinson, CEO of the BRC, said: “Overall UK footfall declined in March as the wet weather kept shoppers indoors. Northern Ireland and Wales bucked the trend while shopping centres across the UK also saw a year-on-year increase in footfall, primarily driven by the start of the school holidays. The early Easter meant footfall rose across the UK in the final week of March, particularly in English cities such as Birmingham and Liverpool, but this was not enough to reverse the overall decline over the course of the month.

“As we draw closer to a general election, these figures highlight how vital it is for all parties to include a clear and comprehensive plan for growth in their manifestos. As the everywhere economy, retail serves all of us, providing the products we need as well as local jobs and investment. Instead of imposing burdensome costs on the industry, parties should focus on reforming business taxes and improving planning policy to help put life back into communities up and down the country.”

Andy Sumpter, retail consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, added: “An early, high-performing Easter helped put a spring in shoppers’ steps and this, combined with a boost from Mother’s Day and ambient store visits from school holidays, drove up shopper traffic numbers in March to improve on what was a rather muted footfall performance in February.

“While retailers will have welcomed the seasonal uplift in store visits last month, the choppy nature of footfall recovery we’ve seen over the past few months indicates that consumer confidence is yet to fully turn a corner, meaning we may see a bumpy recovery in shopper traffic in the months ahead.”

Morning update

Specialist wine retailer Majestic has bought the Vagabond Wines brand and nine of its 12 bars out of administration.

The deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, would protect the jobs of 171 employees at Vagabond, Majestic said.

Vagabond’s two Gatwick Airport sites and its bar in Canary Wharf were not included in the acquisition.

The partnership would “support Majestic’s growth strategy by building on our existing customer base and allowing us to engage with a younger demographic of wine consumers”, said the retailer.

Read the full story here.

On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 has slumped 1.1% back to 7,892pts after US stocks fell back on inflation worries and rising oil price.

Early grocery risers include Glanbia, up 6.8% to €18.52.

Fallers include Marks & Spencer, down 2.3% to 259.9p, Ocado, down 2.1% to 408.6p and Just Eat, down 2% to 1,270p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 closed yesterday closing in on 8,000pts again after rising 0,5% to 7,975.9pts.

Grocery risers included McBride, up 7.8% to 110p, Virgin Wines, up 6.9% to 46.5p, Just Eat, up 6.1% to 1,296p, Deliveroo, up 3.7% to 130p, SSP Group, up 3.1% to 220.6p, Reckitt Benckiser, up 2.6% to 4,331p, Greencore, up 2.4% to 130.2p and DS Smith, up 2.1% to 410.8p.

Fallers included THG, down 6.1% to 62p, Ocado, down 5% to 417.2p, FeverTree, down 2.2% to 1,120p, Domino’s Pizza, down 1.4% to 341.8p and Bakkavor, down 1.3% to 112p.