Footfall dropped for the 14th consecutive month in January although the rate of decline slowed year on year. 

Shopper numbers slipped 0.7% in the four weeks to January 26, compared to a 1.6% slump in January 2018, according to the BRC-Springboard Footfall and Vacancies Monitor. 

Footfall across high streets declined 0.7%, an improvement on the 1.9% decline the previous year. It marked the sixth consecutive month of decline on the high street.

Retail park footfall slipped 0.3%, while shopping centre footfall declined 0.9%.

Shop vacancy rates across the locations increased to 9.9%, from 8.9% a year ago. 

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “The data reflects the underlying pressures which continue to challenge shops up and down the country. Retail is undergoing a seismic shift, with technology changing the way we shop.

”Consumers are making fewer visits to physical stores, choosing to research and pay for a greater proportion of their purchases online.

”This requires a reinvention of retail, with outlets investing in their physical space to encourage a more experience-led approach to shopping – something which is being held back by sky-high business rates.”

Springboard marketing and insights director Diane Wehrle warned that slowing footfall decline did not suggest that trading conditions have stabilised.

Wehrle said: “On closer interrogation, the clear fact is that all of this improvement emanates from the first week when footfall rose by 2.6% while dropping by an average of 2.1% over the three subsequent weeks.”