The retail insights company had originally forecast a footfall decline of 1.9% for the month, and said that after such a “disappointing” December, January’s footfall comes as both a “relief and a surprise”.
Ipsos said this was attributable to a particularly “strong showing” in the first fortnight of the month, which saw footfall volumes rise by 2.2% compared with the previous year.
Against December, the average weekly footfall fell by 24.6%, the smallest January drop since 2011. Additionally, for the second consecutive month, year-on-year footfall rose in stores in London and south east England.
Dr. Tim Denison, director of retail intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance, said: “The better-than-expected result lends weight to other recent metrics, such as the PMI, indicating an encouraging start to the economy in the new year.”
“Few within the retail sector are expecting the ride in 2020 to be any less bumpy than in the previous three years, despite consumers having a stronger financial footing.”
He added: “After the general election result and the call heeded to ‘Get Brexit Done’, some might argue that evidence is building that clarity has brought confidence and with it a ‘Boris Bounce’.
“Looking carefully at the Ipsos RTI data, I’ve interpreted January’s results in a different way. Footfall growth came when the winter sale promotions were in full flow and the best bargains were to be had. Aware that pre-Christmas sales had been poor, shoppers wasted little time in seeking out great offers after the holidays.”