Shopper numbers hit all-time low
The number of shoppers entering stores across the UK in February was down by 4.9 per cent year-on-year and down 11.2 per cent, against an already depressed January. The figures represent the lowest numbers for February since records began in 1998, according to SPSL's Retail Traffic Index.

'What we are witnessing is a change in people's spending priorities, created by a flip in relative prices. Consumer goods represent amazing value for money and continue to fall in price, in relative terms, whereas the basic essentials of living are becoming ever dearer,' said SPSL director of knowledge management Dr Tim Denison.

'Ironically, the wants of life are now easier to afford than the needs. It could be that people are becoming bored with the easy availability of consumer goods once outside their reach and more cautious because of the rise in the price of needs,' he speculated.

'For retailers, February is always a slow month, despite school half-term holidays and Valentine's Day. It interchanges with March as the quietest month of the year. For this reason it's not considered a performance-wrecker of a month. However, even retailers who take a view on February performances cannot afford to be complacent.'