Retail footfall in May received a boost as warm weather and two bank holidays helped drive customers to shops.

Overall retail footfall in May saw a 3.7% increase compared with April as footfall saw its “biggest bounce back” since 2021, according to MRI Software.

UK high streets received the largest monthly rise in footfall at 5.1% in May, while retail parks and shopping centres recorded a 3.6% increase and 0.8% increase respectively.

Annual footfall declined by 0.6% across all destinations compared with May 2023, driven by a 1.4% drop in footfall across shopping centres and a 1.2% slip in footfall across high streets.

Retail parks, however, saw a 1.6% year-on-year rise in footfall.

Weekend footfall also increased by 2.1% year on year, but weekday footfall declined by 1.7%, which MRI said could be due to the impact of rail strikes in early May.

MRI Software marketing and insights director Jenni Matthews said: “The first week of the month, driven mainly by a boost in the latter part of the week as shoppers looked to stock up on groceries and bank holiday essentials, is likely to have contributed to the overall month-on-month rise for shopping centres and retail parks. 

“Looking ahead, there is much optimism for the retail and hospitality sector with major events including the Euros 2024, Glastonbury and even Taylor Swift’s Eras tour arriving in the UK likely to boost footfall in various locations across the country. 

“Recent reports from GFK also revealed an improvement in consumer confidence, which was largely driven by people feeling confident about their personal finances, increasing by 15 points when compared against this time last year. 

“With a general election imminent and a heavy focus on revitalising the high street, only time will tell how election campaigns will impact retailer and consumer confidence in the coming weeks. 

“Monitoring retail footfall data in real time can provide the insights retailers need to adapt quickly and stay competitive in a fast-moving retail landscape.”