Are shoppers finally beginning to return to the mall?
That seems to be the takeaway from the most recent store foot traffic data released by analytics firm Retail Next, offering a glimmer of hope for brick-and-mortar retailers dealing with stiff competition from e-commerce and omnichannel merchants.
April store traffic fell by 5.7%, a significant improvement over March’s 9.2% decline, and the smallest decrease in more than two and a half years. The average transaction value also improved, rising 2.3%, its second straight month of gains.
April’s traffic performance was helped by the unseasonably warm weather in most of the country and the timing of Easter compared to last year.
However, sales in physical stores dropped by 8.7%, and sales per shopper fell by 3.4%.
The biggest sales day of the month was Saturday, April 15, and the lowest sales day was Easter Sunday, April 16.
The Southern region saw the only increase in sales and traffic in the month. The Midwest had the biggest declines in both metrics.
Whether the traffic improvement trend will continue in the coming months remains to be seen, however, and may hinge on how well merchants are able to provide enhanced in-store experience and compelling product, rather than merely percent-off coupons, to their customers.