Footfall on May Day bank holiday helped contribute to a strong month for retail footfall, with the number of shoppers up +8.4% YoY, states Ipsos Retail Performance in its latest retail traffic index.

Overall, footfall feel by -2.3% YoY – a stronger performance than the surprise -2.9% drop seen in April. The -0.8% decline in average weekly traffic compared to April reflects the best May performance for four years, says Ipsos.

Dr Tim Denison, director of retail intelligence at Ipsos, says: “All in all, consumers seem to be defying all the uncertainty around Brexit. They aren’t feeling the pinch financially, so why wouldn’t they carry on regardless? The current strength of real earnings growth, consumer confidence and employment underpin the relative improvement in footfall figures.

“That said, retailers continue to make the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The cost and margin pressures that retailers are under threaten their commercial viability. Yet more major brands – Arcadia, M&S, Monsoon and Select – have all hit choppy waters last month. The sticky trading conditions are exposing poor strategic decisions of the past.

“With store footfall showing signs of improving, retailers would do well to start deploying strategies to wean consumers off the discount diet that they have been fed for so long. In the long run, no-one benefits from window-to-window 70% reduction posters along the high street.

"June’s footfall will give us a better steer as to whether retail footfall is genuinely beginning to pull out of its nose dive, assuming that economic conditions continue to remain placid for consumers. We live in hope.”