Persistent rain over the Easter bank holiday weekend put a dampener on retail footfall which declined 12.5% year-on-year.
The Springboard National High Street Index revealed stores were hit particularly hard on Monday with shopper numbers down 22.4%.
Sales on Friday fell 9%, Saturday 9.6% and Sunday 11.1% as rain deterred shoppers across the country.
Springboard research director Diane Wehrle said an earlier Easter and the “ongoing squeeze” on household finances had hit shopper numbers.
Wehrle said: “This is a timely set of results as it shows that there is a real need for some robust measures to protect our vulnerable high streets and initiatives to put the high street back on the national agenda, like those recently announced by Grant Shapps, can’t come soon enough.”