As the race for number 10 ramps up, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) is calling on politicians of all stripes to address the policies restricting retailers from investing in the high street in a bid to “revitalise footfall”.

Busy shopping street in London

The call comes as retail footfall in May continued on its downward trajectory, despite improving slightly from April.

Total UK footfall in May decreased by 3.6% year on year, up from a decline of 7.2% in April, according to the latest BRC-Sensormatic IQ data.

High street footfall also decreased by 2.7% in May, compared with a fall of 6.9% last month, while footfall across retail parks decreased by 2.3%, up from a fall of 6.2% in April.

Footfall at shopping centres also saw a dip of 4.5%, up from the previous 7.2% decline.

All nations across the UK saw a dip in footfall year on year, with Northern Ireland seeing the smallest drop at 3% year on year.

Footfall declined by 3.4% in England, 5% in Wales and 5.4% in Scotland during the month of May.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “UK footfall declined in May as bank holidays and improving weather failed to entice customers to make in-person trips to shopping destinations.

“All locations did improve on the previous month while Birmingham performed best out of the major cities, showing a positive footfall trend. Retailers will be hopeful that a warm summer, coupled with events such as the European Championships and Olympics, will boost footfall across all major shopping destinations across the UK.

“With an election only five weeks away, political parties have a role to play too by having policies that mean retailers can invest in rejuvenating shopping destinations across the UK.

“A broken business rates system and outdated planning laws are holding back the industry – politicians of all stripes must address these issues.

“This will boost economic growth, lift consumer spirits and help drive more shoppers back to our high streets and other retail destinations.”