This January saw retail footfall increase significantly when compared to the same month last year. At a time of year when the retail industry is usually on it knees, surviving on the increased profits offered by the Christmas period, this was a very welcome boost indeed, and may well indicate a way of things to come.
With the recession now allegedly behind us, it appears that people are starting to once again feel comfortable splashing out on luxuries, with out of town retail locations and shopping malls showing the most promising increases in trade during January. The overall rise, year on year, was around 1.6% with some areas seeing increased footfall by over 3%.
This rise in customer interest has put pay to fears that retail footfall would simply continue to fall year after year and that the high street was in its death throes. In fact, even the number of occupied high street shops appears to be increasing in many towns and cities, showing that the chance to go out shopping rather than doing so from home has not completely lost its allure.
MORE TRADE MEANS MORE POTENTIAL FOR CAFES AND RESTAURANTS
For many retail businesses there is little that can be done to capitalise even more on this increase in footfall. However, more people visiting shops will mean more people heading to restaurants and cafés when well-deserved rests are needed. As such, whilst the odd carefully considered promotion and the right window dressing may help retail businesses to make the most of their potential winter custom, it is those offering food and drink that are likely to need to make most focussed changes if they wish to make the most of this new potential.
Choosing the right furniture is the first and most important step for cafés and restaurants that wish to see this increased customer base return time and again throughout the year. Far too often, furniture is seen as merely a necessity, rather than the flexible addition to eating and drinking establishments that they truly are.
The right furniture will not only offer a great deal of comfort to an individual and ensure that they are much more likely to truly enjoy their experience on the premises, but such furniture may also be the perfect aesthetic addition too. The style of a café, bar or restaurant is often dictated by furniture alone, and the choices made when purchasing such items will very quickly inform whether the premises look modern and sleek, retro and cool, traditional and welcoming or simply old and tired.
According to many reports, retail sales have risen at their fastest rate in nearly two years, and for sales to rise so rapidly at such a traditionally quiet time of year is very encouraging indeed. However, retail proprietors need to make certain that their shops are as appealing as possible to ensure that consumers do not quickly become jaded with the high street once more. Meanwhile, café bars and restaurants need to ensure that they have the right service, the right style and the right levels of comfort to remind customers just why they really come out to shop rather than doing so from home: the indulgence and luxury that can be afforded when they want a well-earned break.
About the Author – Adam Howes is a freelance writer and blogger. He regularly contributes articles to furniture and lifestyle sites, visiting companies such as Furniture Realm Direct to stay up to date with all the latest industry developments.