In July, the Retail FootFall Index (RFI) hit the highest level so far this year, as the weather drove consumers away from the seaside and into shopping centres.

UK shopper numbers have risen 1.5 per cent since June, the second consecutive month-on-month rise. However, despite this month-on-month increase, comparisons against last year are low, with shopper numbers trailing 3.5 per cent behind.

FootFall spokesman Martin Davies said: “The extreme weather conditions this summer have definitely played a part in tempting people away from the coast or other outdoor destinations and into shopping centres. This is becoming an emerging trend with modern families, who are increasingly choosing destination centres – where play areas and food courts sit alongside traditional retail outlets – for day trips or family outings.”

However, he said that the RFI only measures footfall, so whether the surge in visitor numbers during July will be reflected in increasing sales is yet to be determined.

Davies added: “With the weather forecasts for August looking more promising, the burst in retail activity that we saw in July may be short-lived, especially as the impact of interest rates rises slows high street spending. In the next few months retailers’ thoughts will be turning to Christmas, while consumers face the possibility of a further rate rise before the year is out.”

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