The number of people that hit the shops on Boxing Day fell 7.3% this year, while online transactions rose 6.2% on the traditionally fruitful trading day.

The 7.3% decline is compared with an 8.8% rise in footfall on Boxing Day in 2015.

The biggest contributors to this downward shift were shopping centres, where footfall decreased 19.9% year-on-year, according to retail data company Springboard.

“This poor performance is despite the dry and bright weather enjoyed across the country,” it said.

Springboard insights director Diane Wehrle said that, during 2016, shopping centres have consistently experienced the worst footfall, and this trend is expected to continue.

She said: ”Their reduced appeal is a result of the fact that most centres have a more limited hospitality offering than the high street equivalent, which has been recording more favourable footfall in recent months.

“We expect that most consumers who venture out this week will be doing so for leisure as opposed to shopping, thus giving the high street the edge as it able to service the consumer demand for bars, restaurants and coffee shops.”

Footfall declined 2.2% year-on-year on the high street and 4.2% at out-of-town retail parks.

Online shopping

Online spending is proving more popular than bricks and mortar with data from PCA predict showing a 6.2% year-on-year increase in spending on Boxing Day, as well as increases across the festive period.

Wehrle said: “Retailers will be pleased that online sales have helped temper the decrease in bricks and mortar sales over the Christmas trading period.”

Retailer disappointment

In line with tradition, Friday 23 was the busiest day for footfall – up 2% on Thursday 22.

However, footfall figures showed that shopper numbers on Christmas Eve fell 5.9% year-on-year.

Springboard said that retailers will be disappointed that fewer shoppers came out to make last-minute purchases, given that Christmas Eve fell on a Saturday this year.

Springboard forecasts a drop in footfall of 2.3% for the remainder of this week to December 31.

Amid the doom-and-gloom, however, some retailers have noted that the slumped value of the pound following the Brexit vote has given tourist trade a boost.

Westfield shopping centres said that, across its two London sites, tourist spend was up 14% year-on-year in November, with sales of luxury items up 21%.