The number of shoppers entering non-food stores in the UK fell six per cent year-on-year in January.
Footfall fell 31.9 per cent month-on-month, compared to December 2012, compared to a seasonal norm of -26.3 per cent.
Retailing in the Midlands suffered worst with footfall levels 8.7 per cent down on January 2012.
The data came from the Retail Traffic Index (RTI), compiled by Ipsos Retail Performance.
“The headline figures mask what really happened over the course of the month, which started well for retailers but was then adversely affected by the weather,” said Dr Tim Denison, Head of Retail Intelligence and Ipsos Retail Performance.
“Footfall levels for January as a whole were far short of the 2.1 per cent year-on-year decline that we had forecast.
"We had expected fewer shoppers in January than last year because retailers were carrying less surplus Christmas and sales stock, and sales campaigns had been pulled forward into December.”
For the fortnight straddling 2012 and 2013, the winter sales began brightly, with a three per cent year-on-year increase in footfall traffic. However, mid-month snowfall pushed numbers down again.
“This prevented many shoppers from reaching stores and that had a severe impact on shopping activity and month end footfall,” explained Dr Denison.
“We are forecasting that the RTI will flat line in 2013, stemming the decline that we have tracked over the last five years.
"Though it may look fanciful, coming off the back of another difficult year for the sector, the growth in the likes of click-and-collect and emerging shopping behaviours such as ‘showrooming’ and dynamic marketing can help drive up store traffic this year and act as a catalyst for the revival and evolution of stores."
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