High-street footfall has fallen by the sharpest rate in 16 months, according to figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard.
The footfall decline of 4.2 per cent in November was the worst drop on a three-month basis since August 2012 as people held off major Christmas shopping trips.
Warmer weather hit clothing sales as festive spending got off to a “slow but steady start.”
Overall footfall in November was 2.9 per cent lower than a year ago – the same as October’s rate – and slightly below the three-month average of 2.7 per cent.
Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium Director General, commented: “These figures may seem subdued, but factors like enhanced multichannel offers and Christmas day falling on Wednesday this year are changing customer habits and giving people the confidence to leave much of their spending until later.
“Clearly there’s still all to play for: footfall has been building since the end of November and I expect this to continue now that we’re less than a fortnight away from the big day.”
Shopping centre’s performed the strongest across the three channels with the BRC saying the figures suggested that many “opted to condense their trips where possible” so they could do all their Christmas shopping under one roof.
The East (-0.5 per cent), North & Yorkshire (-1.8 per cent) and Greater London (-2.7 per cent) were the only regions to report footfall above the UK average.
The figures come as research from O2 and retail analysts Conlumino predict a surge in Click and Collect today as shoppers crank up their Christmas shopping.
Feilim Mackle, Director of Sales and Service at O2, said: “The digital revolution and the mass-market arrival of 4G is creating a nation of smart shoppers. For these consumers, armed with their smartphones and tablets, the journey from browsing to buying has fundamentally changed.
“They want to move seamlessly between the virtual and physical worlds and the onus is now firmly on retailers to make it a simple, easy and consistent shopping experience.”