UK high streets are set for their quietest Christmas since the recession, according to forecasts.

Low consumer confidence brought about by Brexit, greater online competition and customers increasingly opting to gift experiences such as gig tickets over products will combine to drive festive footfall down once more, according to retail footfall monitoring group Springboard.

Footfall is expected to decline 4.2% year-on-year, after falling 3.5% in 2017.

Festive footfall has fallen in eight out of the past nine years, meaning that if footfall does fall, it will be the ninth time it has done so in the decade since the recession.

Over that decade, UK annual footfall has risen just once, in 2011, when shoppers began to spend more again after the financial crisis.

Springboard marketing and insights director Diane Wehrle said: “There has been more discounting this year by retailers, Black Friday was not a success and there is low consumer confidence because of the maelstrom of Brexit.

“I think a number of retailers will be really pinched in the new year. Fashion and department stores are particularly vulnerable.”