UK retailers suffered the steepest level of monthly footfall decline in six years during May, according to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium.

The latest BRC-Springboard Footfall and Vacancies Monitor showed that footfall declined by 3.5% in May, compared to the same point last year when it declined by just 0.4%.

The falling footfall figures came across all retail destinations, with high street footfall declining 4.8%, retail parks falling 0.8% and shopping centres by 3.6%.

On a three-month basis, footfall across the UK fell by 0.7%. The six-month average is -1.3% and the 12-month average is -1.4%.

BRC boss Helen Dickinson said the results were the worst for the month of May in six years and called on government to intervene.

“The UK experienced the worst footfall figures in six years, with declines in every region, and across high streets, retail parks and shopping centres. This reflects our recent sales data, which showed the largest drop in retail sales on record,” she said.

“The colder weather, as well as ongoing political and economic uncertainty, made many consumers think twice before heading out to the shops this May.

“While consumers stayed away from the shops this May, retailers still had to pay the full cost of business rates, which are levied regardless of whether a store makes a penny at the till. These rising costs are making many retailers rethink investment decisions, as well as contributing to store closures up and down the country.

“The Government must act to reform this anachronistic tax system, or it will be the consumers who suffer the shuttered windows at their local shopping locations.”