Footfall in August fell 0.9% against the same month last year, reversing the 0.8% footfall rise in July.
The surprising result, the largest drop since March, was recorded by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Springboard Footfall Monitor despite the hot weather in the month.
Footfall in out-of-town locations was flat after a relatively strong performance in the last four months. Meanwhile, high street footfall slipped 0.6% and footfall in shopping centres remained weak, dropping 2.2%, although this was a slight improvement on July’s 2.3% decline.
In addition the North of England and Yorkshire was the only region in the UK to report positive footfall growth, up 0.1%. All other regions reported a footfall decline.
BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: “A slight fall in shopper numbers is disappointing after several months of positive results, but there are a few factors at play. We’re comparing against August 2012, when an Olympic influx in some areas pushed up the UK average, and it’s also possible that more of us took our holidays after electing to stay put for last year’s summer of sport.
“All in all, these figures need to be taken in tandem with the recent rosier economic news, including a good run of sales growth and many of us starting to feel more positive about the economy.”
Springboard retail insights director Diane Wehrle said despite the footfall drop the results show customers are spending more.
“Somewhat surprisingly given the continuing hot weather, footfall declined by 0.9 per cent in August, which is the most significant drop since March,” she added.
“Given the increase in sales in August, the lack of uplift in footfall indicates that the number of customers visiting our retail locations is remaining steady in overall terms but they are spending more.”