Footfall in the three months to July was 2.3% lower than a year ago, worse than the 2.0% fall in the previous quarter, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) figures.
Footfall weakened in all types of locations, particularly high streets with a 5.5% fall, compared with out-of-town down 1.2% and shopping centres down 0.4%.
The hardest-hit locations in the past three months were Greater London (-8.9%), Scotland (-8.2%), and the East (-7.3%). Northern Ireland (6.2%) and Wales (4.0%) were the only regions to show increased footfall. The South-East (-0.5%) and the North and Yorkshire (-0.9%) showed the smallest declines.
The national town centre vacancy rate in the UK was 11.4% in July 2012 (high streets and shopping centres), up from 11.2% in July 2011 when this survey began.
Stephen Robertson, BRC director general, said: “Some of the wettest weather on record drove a sharp decline in shopper numbers over the quarter. July saw the biggest drop in overall footfall with high streets suffering the most.
“Apart from the Christmas boost in December, high street footfall has now been down for 18 months driven by jobs fears and falling disposable incomes.
“In most parts of the UK, it’s a continuing story of people being short of money, reluctant or unable to spend, resulting in consistently high levels of empty shops.
“There was little sign of a general Jubilee bounce though the wettest June on record did produce the only month in the quarter when shopping centre footfall rose as people avoided going outside. Retailers will be hoping the Olympics had a more positive impact. They will be reflected in the next quarter’s survey.”
Source: British Retail Consortium