Footfall declined last month as the January Sales failed to lure shoppers to high streets and shopping centres.

Customer numbers dropped 1.6% during the four weeks to January 27 compared to the same period the previous year, according to data from BRC-Springboard.

Shopping centres suffered worst from the downturn in consumer traffic, as footfall tumbled 3.1%.

Shopper numbers on high streets were down 1.9%, although that marked an improvement on the three-month average of -2.1%.

Retail parks were the only location to register an increase in footfall, climbing 0.9% during the month.

All regions of the UK suffered a drop in customer visits. Scotland recorded the steepest decline of 4.6%, while footfall in the Southwest and Southeast of England fell 2.6% and 2.5% respectively.

Although Greater London also posted a shopper slowdown, the rate of decline eased to 1.2% following a sharp 3.7% fall in December.

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson said the “squeeze on discretionary spending” contributed to the drop in footfall.

Springboard’s marketing and insights director Diane Wehrle hailed retail parks bucking the wider trend and insisted other locations could learn lessons from the out-of-town destinations.

Wehrle said: “Retail parks clearly now fulfil a wider role for shoppers – yes, they are convenient and functional shopping locations, but are buoyed by the continuing growth in online spending.

“Not only are they efficient click-and-collect points, but their attraction is enhanced by a wider offer, embracing hospitality.

“Herein lies the lesson for stores in urban locations of high streets and shopping centres – their longevity is contingent upon their ability to embrace all steps of consumers’ path to purchase, which implicitly necessitates a first-class click-and-collect experience.”