Footfall has dropped 2% in the first quarter of 2012 as the wet weather and changes to the calendar impacted shopper behaviour, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC)/Springboard-ACTM Footfall Monitor.
Footfall declined by double digits in almost every part of the UK in the three months to April 30 with the hardest hit locations in Scotland, where footfall plunged 12.6%, the East which fell 8.9% and Greater London, dropping 8.2%.
Wet weather, a later Easter holiday and one less bank holiday compared to the same period last year all contributed to the footfall slump.
Wales was the only region to show increased footfall, edging up 0.6%.
BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: “While March was a better month, with the sun bringing some spring spending forward, cold, wet weather combined with a widespread lack of spare cash kept them at home in April. High streets are more vulnerable to the rain and took the biggest blow, suffering the worst drop in footfall since Nov 2009, which added to the difficulties that are keeping empty shops empty.
“Inflation’s downward trajectory moves us closer to the real incomes growth that will get people shopping again but a fundamental turnaround is some way off.”
Springboard research director Diane Wehrle said enclosed shopping centres were the only environment to see positive footfall, proving that the rain was a key factor in dampening footfall.
Footfall across high streets fell 6.4% across the three months and plunging 12.6% in April alone - its sharpest fall since November 2009.
“Moving forward, the silver lining is that May and June footfall across the board should be boosted by public holidays, with many high streets and shopping centres planning special footfall-driving events specifically for the Queen’s Jubilee,” she added.
The national town vacancy rate in the UK was 11.1% across high streets and shopping centres, which is unchanged from that in January 2012 and October 2011.