The Synovate Retail Traffic Index (RTI) recorded an encouraging 0.2% year-on-year rise in non-food retail footfall in July and an 8.4% increase on June.
Synovate retail psychologist Dr Tim Denison has analysed the data, “Coming off the back of a better than expected June, July’s marginal year-on-year rise in footfall is another small and welcome step forward for British retailing. The faltering market is now pegged, at least in the short term, and this should be confirmed when the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor figures for July are announced next week.
“It is almost as if the whole of the country, not just parliament, is enjoying a summer recess, away from the economic and political battlefields – and this despite even the incessant rain! The benign conditions have helped patch consumer confidence and stop the shopping rot. The summer Sales have played their part in encouraging shoppers to go out and spend and I would say that they have been more effective in this regard than last year, for two reasons. Firstly, the offers have been more limited and genuine, and secondly, in contrast to last summer, retailers appear far more selective and discerning in their approach. There is far less sense that the whole of the high street is on continuous Sale.
“We shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves here, or be under any false illusion; the real action will return again in the autumn, when the spectre of public spending cuts, job insecurity and pay freezes reappears to test our resolve. In the meantime though, we can enjoy something of a respite.