Footfall fell by 2.7% in March compared with the same period last year across all retail destinations, as the early Easter and adverse weather conditions took their toll.
UK high streets bore the brunt of the declines, down by 3.9%, followed by shopping centres, which dropped by 3.7%.
Retail parks, however, registered a 1.6% uplift year-on-year, according to new research from the British Retail Consortium and Springboard.
“The near 4% decline in footfall on our high streets and in shopping centres is partially caused by the distortion of the timing of Easter,” explained Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC. “It is, however, also a continuation of a longer term trend caused by ongoing structural change within the retail industry.”
Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director, added: “An early Easter is always a challenge for retail destinations as the bank holiday traditionally kick starts demand for spring fashion and household purchasing.
“The widespread coverage across the UK of storm Katie, and overall a cold March meant that footfall dropped in all regions and nations, with a drop of more than two percent in seven of the ten different areas.”