Boxing Day footfall is expected to decline 5.2% this year, in the sharpest fall since the recession.

Forecasts from retail data firm Springboard said Boxing Day footfall has declined in five of the past nine years with the decline increasing every year since 2016.

Marketing and insights director Diane Wehrle said: “It is going to be the worst Christmas we’ve had for a good few years, apart from when we were in the depths of recession.”

The figures are the latest in a series of blows for high street retailers, which have faced tough competition from online retailers and are constrained by high business rates.

Springboard previously predicted that UK high streets were set for their quietest Christmas since the recession.

Low consumer confidence brought about by Brexit, greater online competition and customers increasingly opting to gift experiences such as gig tickets over products will combine to drive festive footfall down once more, according to the research firm.

Shoppers are predicted to hit the high street tomorrow, however, the Saturday before Christmas, in a last-minute spending spree.

Consumers will spend £1.38bn in stores, according to research by the Centre for Retail Research and VoucherCodes. Online shopping for last-minute items is expected to reach £268m, bringing the total splashed out that day to £1.65bn, or £2.38m per minute.