Footfall slumped in March as the prolonged cold snap fuelled the weakest performance since April 2012.
According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC)/Springboard Retail Footfall Monitor, UK footfall dropped 5.2% last month after a 0.8% a rise in February.
Shopper numbers weakened in all locations, with high streets reporting the greatest decline, down 7%. Out of town areas registered a 4.2% drop, while footfall at shopping centres fell 2.4%.
All seven regions in England slumped, with the East Midlands registering the sharpest dip of 8.1%. Wales recorded a 5.4% drop, while Northern Ireland and Scotland registered a 4% and 3.8% decline respectively.
Helen Dickinson, BRC director general, said: “The prolonged cold was the main culprit for deterring shoppers, especially compared against the far milder March of 2012. Although footfall did pick up around the Easter weekend, it couldn’t fully compensate for a weak showing across the month as a whole.”
She added: “High streets were hit the hardest by the cold snap, as many of us favoured shopping under shelter rather than braving the elements. In February, high streets had been the standout performer, but March saw footfall growth slumping back to subzero territory – high streets’ worst result since July 2012.”
With temperatures finally starting to lift Dickinson said “retailers will be hoping that demand also starts to heat up for seasonal ranges and spring shopping trips”.