Storm Ciara, which hit the UK the weekend of 8 February 2020, saw UK retail footfall plummet by 15.3%.
According to the latest figures from Ipsos Retail Performance, the most affected region was the north west of England, with footfall down 18.3% on the same period last year.
Storm Dennis, which hit the UK on the weekend of 15 February, also saw UK retail footfall decrease by 16.3%. The south west and west midlands were the most affected, with footfall down 23.5% and 20.8% respectively.
Dr. Tim Denison, director of retail intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance, said: “The two weekends had similar impacts at a UK level, as you might expect. This is quite typical of the impact on footfall of major winter storms, though not as dramatic as white outs of previous years.
“Dennis’ impact was more localised given the storm was more about rainfall than windy conditions.”
He added: “Weather is always used by retailers to blame poor sales performances, but there is genuine cause to do so when extreme weather conditions hit the country. People simply don’t want to risk going out unless they have to.”
It comes after footfall in non-food stores in the UK fell by just 0.5% year-on-year in January, according to Ipsos Retail Performance’s Retail Traffic Index (RTI) for the month.
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 came 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.