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Index reflects sorry state of retail

high street retailers will be pinning their hopes on sporting events such as the Games and Euro 2012 football tournament

The latest results from the Retail Traffic Index (RTI), which monitors the volume of shoppers in non-food stores across the UK, recorded yet more footfall lows in May, with shopper numbers down by 7.5% against May last year, and down 3.3% on April this year.

Compiled by Ipsos Retail Performance, the Index continues to reflect a sorry state of affairs for high street shopping in the UK. The results for the economy during Q1 have been revised downwards and consumer confidence is now running at its lowest ebb since December. The run rate of the RTI for the year to date is 6.2% down on 2011, making the slowdown 2/3rds more than last year as a whole.

Dr Tim Denison, Head of Retail Intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance, said: “In May last year, the UK was enjoying a mini-bounce in confidence on the back of the royal wedding, so the comparative is a strong one this month. However, overall the health of retailing is continuing on its downward trajectory and even the weather has continued to conspire against retailers.”

Over the Spring Bank Holiday week, however, the footfall deficit against last year was less severe, down by only 2.9% on the equivalent bank holiday week of 2011.

“This provides a glimmer of hope that, at certain times, and beyond everyday routine, people are still prepared to go out shopping in force,” comments Denison. This was most apparent in the North of England when footfall over the bank holiday week was only 0.3% down on last year.

With the weather offering signs of improvement, and many people adding extra days of holiday to the two bank holidays next week, footfall in high street stores is expected to rise, albeit temporarily. If the impact of last year's royal wedding is anything to judge the potential influence of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, high street retailers can hope for a three week run where shopper numbers may well match last year's across the UK as a whole, and some in parts of the country may exceed them.

“After the bank holiday week and Jubilee celebrations, high street retailers will be pinning their hopes on sporting events such as the Games and Euro 2012 football tournament,” says Denison. “If these can help to lift the nation’s spirits, then shopper numbers could be swelled. If this happens, high street retailing in the UK will be in a far better position in a couple of months than it is right now.”

Ends

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. In October 2011 Ipsos completed the acquisition of Synovate. The combination forms the world’s third largest market research company.

With offices in 84 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across six research specializations: advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, public affairs research, and survey management. Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media. They measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1.140 billion ($1.6 billion U.S.) in 2010.

Visit www.ipsos.com to learn more about Ipsos’ offerings and capabilities.

About Ipsos Retail Performance

Ipsos Retail Performance provides footfall monitoring solutions, shopper tracking systems and in-store behavioural research to retailers worldwide. Its core products - Shopper Count, Shopper Interact and Shopper Engage – scientifically measure all aspects of a shopper experience from store entry to exit. It supplies national and international retailers with essential business metrics to drive accountability and performance improvement.

Ipsos Retail Performance is home to the Retail Traffic Index series, which for over 10 years has been the industry’s leading tracker of national, regional and sector retail footfall trends. It is also co-founder of the KPMG/Ipsos Retail Think Tank, offering thought leadership on the state of retail health and the future of retailing.

More information on Ipsos Retail Performance can be found at www.ipsos-retailperformance.com

For general information relating to Ipsos Retail Performance, email info.rp@ipsos.com

Ipsos Retail Performance Limited is registered in England and Wales under number 3552625 with its registered address at Minerva House, 5 Montague Close, London, SE1 9AY, UK. Ipsos Retail Performance is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ipsos.
MEDIA enquiries (Ipsos Retail Performance) to:

Glen Goldsmith
2thefore
Tel: +44 (0)1483 811 234 / 07812 766 338
email: glen@2thefore.co.uk

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