Wintry weather blamed for decline in Easter retail footfall
The damp and chilly weather left a dent in retail trade over Easter as Northern Ireland saw a drop in footfall of almost 3%.
According to Ipsos Retail Performance, retailers suffered a quiet weekend and reported a drop in footfall of 2.9% across the UK in comparison to 2015 when Easter fell a fortnight later.
Both Northern Ireland and Scotland saw a drop of around 3%, however the biggest casualty was north-east England, which saw a decline of 8% in the number of shoppers.
A number of factors were blamed for the slump, including the early Easter and poor weather conditions.
A spokeswoman for CBRE, which deals with commercial property, said: "Any negative growth in footfall is always disappointing, but the figures reported for NI are in line with the rest of the UK.
"Easter was very early this year and the weather was poor, which I think explains the decline. Overall, the outlook for retail in Northern Ireland is still positive. Vacancy rates in Belfast particularly have declined significantly year-on-year and we have seen several new retailers enter the market for the first time as well as a significant increase in demand from retailers for key locations across Northern Ireland."
Dr Tim Denison retail director of Ipsos Retail Performance added: "Over the four-day holiday, the picture was similar across swathes of the country.
"The busiest day of the long weekend was Saturday, accounting for 33.9% of footfall to non-food stores over the four-day period. Bank Holiday Monday was hard on its heels, with 31.6% of the holiday footfall, with Good Friday just behind (30.0%)."