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Easter to deliver UK shopping boost, but it won't be enough

Published
today Apr 16, 2019
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Easter spend in the UK is forecast to increase by a tiny 0.5% this year to reach £1.7 billion, driven by Easter increasingly being a gifting occasion and spending in this specific category is expected to rise 0.8%, according to the analysts at GlobalData.


Easter should boost UK retail but won't make up for previous weakness



While much of that gifting will be around the foods sector (with healthy Easter treats selling well alongside more traditional confectionery), there should also be alternative gift opportunities as other product sectors get in on the seasonal act.

Retail analyst Zoe Mills said: “In the past we have seen non-food specialists getting involved in more traditionally food based occasions, for example, health & beauty specialists selling Christmas advent calendars. This move has been hugely successful and as such we are now seeing more retailers make this same step in Easter gifting.” She cited make-up brand Revolution as an example of this in 2019.

Outside of the gifting sector, Easter is also expected to deliver an uplift in shopper footfall at physical shopping locations. Tracking company Springboard is forecasting that Easter weekend UK footfall will be 2.1% higher, an improvement on last year’s 3.3% fall, but still not fully making up for that decline.

High street footfall is set to see the greatest rise, 4.1% in comparison to a drop of 7.5% a year ago. Retail parks should increase by 1.7% but shopping centres are forecast to drop by 1.9%

And Springboard said the overall forecast degree of uplift in footfall is still likely to be constrained due to the current subdued consumer spending.

Meanwhile, a study conducted by parcels carrier Royal Mail said that a third of small-and-medium-size enterprise (SME) retailers are expecting a “leap in sales” over the Easter holiday weekend with Easter growing in importance for online operators in particular.

Clothing and books are the items SME retailers expect to enjoy the largest spike in sales over the holiday period and as many as 9% of retailers are taking on additional staff for the holiday weekend.

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