More people in Wales visited stores in March compared to February, according to new research.

The data - from MRI Software - showed a slight increase of 3.3 per cent in retail footfall across Wales, a notable contrast to the same time last year, which saw a 4.9 per cent decrease.

This suggests that shopper behaviour is gradually stabilising in all retail formats.

Retail parks were the front runners, with footfall index growing by 5.3 per cent month-on-month.

High streets also experienced a minor surge of 4.5 per cent while shopping centre visits slipped by 1.1 per cent.

It was concluded that most of this uplift was attributed to activities in shopping centres particularly in the last week of March, a period including Easter and payday.

Despite fluctuating weather conditions and changes in major holiday dates like Mother’s Day and Easter, footfall remained stable during the month.

There was, however, a dip in the middle of the month when footfall decreased by 5.7 per cent from the previous week which had seen an 8.6 per cent growth.

The last fortnight of March marked a brisk increase in activities, particularly in shopping centres and retail parks.

Retail footfall rose 19.8 per cent and 8 per cent, consecutively, during the week leading up to Easter.

It was reported that three major UK airports anticipated the busiest Easter ever, signalling a return to normalcy following the pandemic.

However, when compared to 2023 figures, footfall had dipped by 1.9 per cent, largely driven by diminishing high street activities where footfall declined by 3 per cent.

Shopping centres also experienced a slip of 1.6 per cent, while retail parks had a minor increase of 0.1 per cent.

Looking forward to April, the planned rail strikes between April 5 and 8 could potentially dampen footfall, especially in towns and cities.

Leisure and hospitality businesses relying on footfall during school holidays could see a drop, particularly in historic towns, market towns and regional cities including London.

More optimistic forecasts point to potential increased footfall to coastal towns, visitor attractions and retail destinations accessible by car.

With an uncertain retail landscape, businesses are keeping a close eye on store and portfolio performances.

Conclusive data sourcing remains pivotal for retailers in order to make informed decisions, varying from staffing to investing in areas where it will bring greatest value, and optimising their energy and facilities management for efficiency.