High streets saw footfall drop 5.3% in February, while the UK average fell 2.9%, as consumers “took a pause” in shopping after the January sales.
High streets took the biggest brunt of declines, with out-of-town locations reporting a 2.3% increase, although shopping centres also dropped 2.4%, according to monthly British Retail Consortium/Springboard data.
All seven regions reported a decline in footfall, but only three - Greater London (-2.0%), East Midlands (-2.2%) and North & Yorkshire (-2.3%) – were better than the UK average.
BRC director general Helen Dickinson said the figures underlined “how important it is we keep our focus on reform of business rates to keep costs down”.
She added: “Our data is now building up a rich picture of how retailers created an exceptional and successful promotional period this January, but having taken advantage of those deals, some consumers have taken a little bit of a pause in their shopping in February.
“Reform will help high street retailers invest in their offer and attract more people out to the shops, supporting local jobs and benefiting the wider economy.”