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UK's Easter retail forecast remains subdued

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

24 Mar 2016

London - Unlike Black Friday and Christmas, Easter is a more subdued holiday for retailers, but with a long weekend and signs of good weather, it's often the first major shopping event in the new year.

However early estimations make this year's outlook set to be different. Retail intelligence experts Springboard have predicted the four day Easter weekend won't see tills ringing across the UK, not even for online retailers.

Footfall across UK high streets, shopping centres and retail parks is set to see modest growth of just 1.3 percent compared to Easter last year, but is is the high street that will suffer the most, with predicted fall of 1.1 percent last year, with Saturday faring worst as forecast wet weather deterring shoppers and leading to a drop of 5 percent.

Shoppers are expected to hit the High streets on Monday, with an estimated growth of 3 percent. Springboard also expects retail parks to see footfall growth of 4.5 percent on-year, fuelled further by ongoing growth in house prices and the consequent increase in desire for shoppers to upgrade their homes, possibly in preparation to sell.

The forecast wet Saturday this year is also likely to drive shoppers inside shopping centres and lead to an anticipated 1 percent on-year boost on Easter Saturday in such destinations, according to Springboard.

A shortfall expected in online shopping

Meanwhile, e-commerce data experts PCA Predict also expect to see a shortfall in online transactions over Easter. The weekend, and in particular Easter Sunday, is typically one of the lowest performing periods for online transactions across the whole year.

According to figures taken from PCA Predict’s online retail tracker, Big Data Labs, e-commerce transactions were up by a staggering 63 percent on-year across the Easter weekend in 2015. But despite this ijump, the figures were still remarkably low compared to an average weekend, it noted.

Jamie Turner, CEO of PCA Predict, said: “Based on the patterns of activity we’ve seen through our platform over the last few years, we’re expecting people to flock to DIY stores and garden centres over the forthcoming Easter weekend, rather than shopping online.”

Diane Wehrle, Insights director at Springboard, said: “Last year UK retail destinations welcomed a modest boost in retail footfall over Easter Weekend (+2 percent on-year) and while consumers will be feeling similarly confident thanks to the payday weekend, we are forecasting slightly more modest growth this year. The early date of Easter and continued cold weather will likely leave shoppers waiting to spend on their spring wardrobe later in the holiday period, driving families to leisure locations instead.”