Retail footfall rebounded in May, although traffic was driven by the trend of consumers heading to shops to research purchases later made online.

According to the latest BRC/Springboard figures, footfall in May increased 0.3% compared to the same month last year, an improvement on the 2.4% decline in April.

The high street enjoyed an improved performance in May, with footfall up 1.2%, increasing from a 4.7% fall in April. It was the best month for the high street since July 2013, excluding Easter distortions.

Retail parks also enjoyed a lift with traffic rising 1.2%, up from 1.1% in April.

However, it was a different scenario for shopping centres, which saw the number of visitors fall 2.1% in May.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “With total footfall figures up and high streets seeing a reversal in fortunes, today’s figures offer some respite from the relentless downward trend we’ve seen building in recent months. 

“However, we know from our recent data that it’s online, rather than stores, that has driven May’s sales upturn. Footfall up and store sales down gives credence to the trend of an increasing use of the high street for leisure activities and the researching of purchases made online either later or on the move through mobile devices.”