Footfall fell 2.9% in February, down on the 1.6% rise in January, as shoppers reigned in spending after the Sales.
Data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) – Springboard Footfall Monitor recorded that February footfall was also lower than the three month average of -1.1%.
In the month visits across high streets slumped 5.3%, the largest drop since March 2013. Out-of-town locations recorded a 2.3% rise in footfall, while visits to shopping centres fell by 2.4%.
BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: “After the increase in UK shoppers we saw [in January], we have seen a disappointing, but understandable, drop back in February. This is in-line with the low levels of growth we saw in our sales figures earlier this month.
“Our data is now building up a rich picture of how retailers created an exceptional and successful promotional period this January, but having taken advantage of those deals, some consumers have taken a little bit of a pause in their shopping in February.”
Diane Wehrle, Springboard retail insights director, said the heavy rain in the period was also to blame on the drop in shopper visits.
She said: “Iit is clear that the exceptionally rainy weather in February impacted on our retail destinations, particularly as the fall of 5.3% in high streets - which are the most exposed to the elements - exceeded the 2.4% fall in shopping centres that benefit from a sheltered environment. The convenience of out of town locations – with parking that is easily accessible to the shops - meant that footfall increased by 2.3%.”
All seven regions in England recorded a decline in footfall with Greater London down 2%. Across the UK Wales experienced the biggest decline in footfall by 8.8%. Scotland’s footfall dropped 4.1%, and Northern Ireland’s footfall fell 5.1%. Northern Ireland experienced its seventh consecutive drop in visitors.