Shopper numbers hit their lowest level in four years last week, according to high street traffic monitor FootFall.
In the week to May 11, the Footfall Index was down 7.8 per cent week-on-week and 1.3 per cent compared with last year. Footfall marketing manager David Smyth said it was the lowest level since the national index started four years ago.
The data supported the latest monthly figures from the British Retail Consortium-KPMG Sales Monitor.
BRC director Bill Moyes said that though the late fall of Easter flattered UK retail sales in April, with like-for-likes up 4.8 per cent and overall growth of 7.6 per cent, there remained 'a sharp downward trend' in the overall pattern.