Footfall worsened in the second quarter, with high streets hit the hardest as the wet weather kept shoppers away, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC)/Springboard Retail Footfall and Vacancies Monitor.
Shopper numbers slumped 2.3% year on year for the three months to July – worse than the 2% fall the previous quarter.
High streets, out-of-town shopping areas and shopping centres all experienced weaker footfall across the past three months. Rain particularly affected the number of high street visitors, as levels plunged 5.5% due to shoppers seeking shelter in undercover centres, where footfall slipped just 0.4%. Out-of-town areas dropped 1.2%.
High street footfall has been down for 18 months, excluding the Christmas boost in December.
BRC director-general Stephen Robertson said: “There was little sign of a general Jubilee bounce, though the wettest June on record did produce the only month in the quarter when shopping centre footfall rose as people avoided going outside. Retailers will be hoping the Olympics had a more positive impact.”
Greater London had the worst footfall drop, falling 8.9% in the period, while visitors to Scotland dropped 8.2% and footfall slumped 7.3% in the East. Northern Ireland and Wales were the only regions where footfall increased, by 6.2% and 4% respectively.
Vacancy rates edged up slightly to 11.4% in July against 11.2% the year before.
Springboard research director Diane Wehrle said: “Vacancies have only risen marginally from July 2011, which shows that UK town centres are retaining the quality of their offering.”