Footfall in May was 0.7% lower than a year ago, down from a 1% rise in April, according to figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
Footfall in out-of-town locations continued its good performance from April, rising 1.2% in May compared with a year ago: its best performance since November 2012.
The high street (-1%) and shopping centre (-1.7%) locations both reported footfall below the UK average. The hardest hit parts of the UK were Northern Ireland (-3.1%), the West Midlands (-2.9%) and East Midlands (-2.6%).
British Retail Consortium Director General Helen Dickinson said: “On the surface these figures are fairly flat, but they’re masking widespread regional variations.
“Only two areas in England – Greater London (2.6%) and the East (0.2%)- showed a rise in footfall. The East and West Midlands reported the greatest decline in footfall, falling 2.6% and 2.9% respectively.
“While footfall saw a slight drop compared with May 2012, the month’s respectable sales growth suggests that conversion rates were good: people made fewer trips but responded well to good deals, especially on value ranges and seasonal promotions.
“Where there was a little growth, retail parks led the way and this could explain why furniture – most commonly sited out of town – was the month’s best performing category according to our Retail Sales Monitor.
“Now that we’re into June, retailers will be hoping that summer sales and sunshine will make for a stronger showing next time.”