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The results from Ipsos are the latest metric to suggest that aspects of the economy are beginning to stabilise.

September sees first rise in retail footfall of 2012

Latest Retail Traffic Index (RTI) figures, released by Ipsos Retail Performance today, show that the number of shoppers in non-food stores increased by 1.2% in September against the same month in 2011. This marks the first month of the year in which retail footfall has risen. Month-on-month store traffic was down by 4.8% on August. For Quarter Three as a whole the RTI stood 7.3% up on Quarter Two – well above the 4.4% seasonal average of the three previous years. The Index was just 1.6% down on Quarter Three 2011, compared to year-on-year deficits of 6.0% in Quarter Two and 5.4% in Quarter One.

“We have been seeing footfall gradually returning to the shops as the year has worn on,” comments Dr Tim Denison, Director of Retail Intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance. “The gap on last year has been steadily closing, and now, for the first time this year, we have recorded a month of growth.”

The results from Ipsos are the latest metric to suggest that aspects of the economy are beginning to stabilise.

The labour market is strengthening: the total number of jobs has grown by more than a quarter of a million over the last three months and unemployment is in decline. Job vacancies are rising and redundancies falling.

Retail sales are continuing to grow, up 3.4% in September (total sales value) according to the BRC/KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.

Inflation, now standing at 2.5% (CPI), has dropped considerably from its 5.2% peak in October last year.

For the third consecutive month, household spending power has risen. In August, families had £2/week more disposable income to spend than the year before, according to the Asda Income Tracker.

Consumer confidence measures continue to show improvement, albeit that they remain firmly entrenched in negative territory.

“None of these latest results are symptomatic of an economy on the slide, but at the same time we might fool ourselves that everything is rosy,” continues Denison. “Many indicators are still pointing in the wrong direction and those that have turned may have just seen temporary respite. Concerns over energy and commodity price increases, for example, could refuel inflation towards the end of the year.”

As regards footfall, it was the last fortnight of the month that produced the year-on-year improvement. The autumnal weather brought shoppers out in force to find suitable seasonal wear, in stark contrast to the same time last year when temperatures soared to the heights of mid-summer.

“Let’s be clear, retailing is still hurting,” says Denison. “The number of retailers entering administration is once again on the rise, as a consequence of the continuing low level of demand, and margin sacrifice. The number of store units in the UK run by multiples has shrunk for the first time in history. We continue to read about retrenchment and redundancy. But equally let’s not talk ourselves down and back into decline. Some key metrics are showing signs of improvement and we should be thankful for that.”

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.

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


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