4/15/2009 6:03:00 PM
Easter trading fails to provide retail sales boost
An increase in footfall on Good Friday and Easter Monday was not enough to pull off the Easter trading boost that many had hoped, according to retailers.
Large cities saw a bigger jump than smaller areas as customers looked to major indoor shopping centres and city centre high streets over the holiday period.
A survey of mobile retailers revealed a jump in footfall on the Friday and Monday across the board but with modest conversions into sales. Saturday was widely believed to be quiet, and at best, ‘a typical Saturday’.
Interest in value deals and mobile broadband were the areas of most success, with the Nokia 5800 the best seller, proving particularly popular on £15 per month contracts.
Several retail sources supported Nokia’s comments of strong sales of the 5800. One Vodafone staffer said Nokia’s touch-screen phone was ‘flying out of the door’ during the period.
Samsung’s new Tocco Ultra was also effective at delivering enquiries and sales, while LG’s Arena sparked a mixed reaction, with some retailers saying customers were not aware of the new model.
One Phones 4u staffer said: ‘Pay-as-you-go mobile broadband was selling well, especially on O2. Tocco Ultra sales were slow but steady – there were lots of people asking after it though.’
Synovate retail expert Dr Tim Denison said: ‘We predict that increasingly cash-poor and time-rich people will be visiting a greater number of stores to seek out the best bargains.’
The Easter weekend usually sees a spike in prepay sales with casual shopping for gifts. This year retailers slashed prepay deals by up to 50% in a bid to attract cash strapped customers. However, staff said half-price prepay didn’t sell, while Sim-only performed better than expected.
Phones 4u boosted its commissions for managers over the Easter period, and offered a weekend away to the value of £1,000 to the area regional director who performs the best.
Another Phones 4u staffer said: ‘As a region we didn’t do well. We thought it was going to be busier than it was and so we didn’t prepare like we might have.’
One T-Mobile staffer said: ‘As an area, we performed lower than expected and as a store we didn’t reach the pledge that we set.’