Agencies have reported “strong” Easter sales, bucking the trend that saw a wet Easter lead to a slump in high street footfall.
Retail analysts Springboard Insights said bad weather caused total shop visits to fall 2.4% between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, compared with 2017.
It said this was largely due to high street footfall, which dropped 9.6% on Good Friday and 6.9% on Easter Saturday.
It revealed that while shoppers stayed away from high streets, shopping centres and retail parks saw a rise in visits.
But sales at Miles Morgan Travel were “significantly up” on last year’s Easter bank holiday weekend. Managing director Miles Morgan said: “Sales were strong, well over our expectations for the week and weekend. Easter is always challenging, so I’m really pleased trading is significantly up.
“Given the majority of our shops closed Monday and had shorter hours on Friday, we smashed it.”
Hays North West managing director Don Bircham, who said Saturday was the busiest day of the weekend, added: “We had a phenomenal start to 2018, which continued right through the Easter weekend.”
A Tui spokesman said its retail stores “had done well”, while Barrhead Travel chief executive Sharon Munro said retail parks and shopping centres were at the “forefront” of its growth strategy, but it still backed its high street agencies.
Homeworking group Travel Counsellors saw Easter sales 13% up on 2017. Chief commercial officer and UK managing director Kirsten Hughes said:
“The unprecedented weather will have affected many businesses, but as travel counsellors work from home they have been available come rain, wind or shine.”
It follows industry analyst GfK figures that showed trade bookings for summer 2018 are up 5% year on year to the end of February, with season-to-date revenue up 8%.
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