The high street suffered its worst January in four years as more consumers avoided the cold weather by shopping online.
Overall, like-for-like sales fell by 0.1% in January, said accountancy group BDO, which tracks the performance of 70 mid-market retailers across the UK. Fashion sales were hardest hit, down 1% compared with the same month in 2016.
Meanwhile, online sales surged by 26.6% – a two-year high.
Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said: “The overwhelming trend for 2017 is uncertainty – whether it be economic, policital or in relation to consumer spending habits.
“Innovation in customer engagement through all channels will be a key priorty for all retailers if they want to stay ahead in 2017.”