Shopping centre footfall improves in week ending 19 May 2013, Path Index shows

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UK retailers saw their customer footfall recover in the week ending 19 May 2013 compared with the same week in 2012, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and Path Intelligence and as measured by the Path Index. 

The Path Index — which melds shopping-centre footfall and the time spent per visitor into a shopper-hours index — rose by 4.6% to 91.0 (January 8, 2012 = 100) from the prior week. The Path Index also increased by 4.8% in the latest week when compared with the same period of the prior year. The Path Index is not seasonally adjusted and is affected by calendar differences.

Sharon Biggar, CEO of Path Intelligence, said: “Over the past week, footfall rebounded, but was impacted by a Bank Holiday on Monday. Over two-thirds of the weekly increase in the Path Index was due to an increase in the number of shopping-centre visitors.”

Michael Niemira, vice president of research for ICSC, said: “The two-week volatility in the Path Index suggested that it was better to view the last two weeks of data together.”  

Niemira said the average reading of the past two weeks compared with three weeks ago suggested there tends to be seasonal weakness during this period and that the 2013 performance is relatively stronger than the past couple of years.

On a year-to-date basis for the 20 weeks of 2013, the Path Index was down 0.9% from the cumulative average in the prior year. Although the trend has been weak in 2013, it has not been as weak as in 2012 when the cumulative average-to-date was 4.3% lower than its comparable period of 2011. Moreover, the Path Index’s stronger performance was split fairly evenly between increases in visitor numbers and average dwell time.