Shoppers walk along Regents Street in London, Britain December 22, 2017.
REUTERS/Simon Dawson/File Photo

Retailers have enjoyed a better footfall in March, though the spending didn’t reflect this, according to BRC figures.

Footfall increased by 1.4 percent, compared to the previous year when it fell by 6 percent, when shoppers were battling the ‘Beast from the East’.

However, the long term picture remains bleak. On a three-month basis, footfall dropped by 0.3 percent. The six and twelve–month averages are both at -1.4 percent.

“Whilst news of an improvement in footfall would be most welcome, it is simply not the case and instead the rise of +1.4 percent should be regarded as an exceptional circumstance relating to a dramatic slump in footfall in March 2018 of -6 percent,” said Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at Springboard.

“Indeed, this was by far the worst monthly result of the year and adversely influenced the outcome for footfall in 2018 as a whole.”

High street Footfall on high streets and retail parks increased by 2.5 percent and 1.5 percent respectively, in contrast to March 2018 when footfall decreased by 8.6 percent and 1.8 percent.

But, shopping Centre footfall fell by 1 percent, marking 24 consecutive months of decline. The decline was comparatively less when compared to the fall of 4.8 percent last year.

“Retailers will be relieved to see footfall up from last year though this is was heavily influenced by the weather: while shoppers in 2018 were contending with the “Beast from the East”, this March has been mild by comparison. Unfortunately, the higher footfall has not translated into higher spending,” said Helen Dickinson chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC)

Sales figures for March from the BRC showed total sales falling 0.5 percent compared to the same month last year. Like for like sales fared worse, falling by 1.1 percent year on year.