The Experian FootFall Index revealed footfall in February fell 1.5%, compared to the previous year. However, shopper numbers increased 2.5% between January and February.
The report said half term produced a slight rise in visits but the temporary boost did not reverse the overall year-on-year decline. It said, given the current economic climate, it is probable that many recent visits were confined to browsing.
Experian director of retail consultancy Martin Davies said: "The current seven month decline in shopper numbers has spanned all the main retail periods including the autumn and spring collections and Christmas in between. February's Index brings little cheer to retailers and affirms how shopping trends are in the process of a fundamental shift driven by more sophisticated and price conscious consumers and the availability of new, different shopping channels and venues."
Despite the decline in shopper numbers, official figures for January show retail sales volumes were still 4.1% higher than a year before. This is below last year’s average, but still reasonably healthy, suggesting that consumers are choosing different purchasing channels than the high street. However, consumer confidence slumped to a 13 year low in February in spite of good news on interest rates.
The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) cut interest rates by a further 25 basis points in February to 5.25 per cent.