Figures released by shopper traffic monitor SPSL have highlighted the impact of the August heatwave on footfall.
The Retail Traffic Index for the month revealed shopper numbers were down 6.7 per cent month on month, and 3.9 per cent year on year.
SPSL's director of knowledge management Dr Tim Denison said: 'Shopper numbers for August never fully recovered from the record temperatures in the first two weeks of the month, which left many stores devoid of customers.'
However, areas outside London and the Southeast escaped the worst of the shopping downturn.
The scorching weather hit performance at a variety of retailers. Department store business Beale's blamed the summer heatwave for a like-for-like sales decline of 8 per cent in the seven weeks to the end of July. As a result, the retailer said gross profit was below expectations.
Meanwhile, WHSmith cited the heat as partly responsible for difficult trading conditions on the high street.