Retail footfall was down 1.2% in January with shopping centres reporting the largest dip (2.8%) but high streets slightly slowing the rate of decline (down 1.6% as opposed to 1.8%).

Footfall in out-of-town locations fared the best with a 1.5% increase year-on-year.

Wales reported the greatest fall in regional footfall, down 4.6% year-on-year.

The national town centre vacancy rate in the UK was 10.4% in January 2015, an increase from October’s rate of 10.3%.

Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium Director General, said: “It has been heartening to see that footfall is up 1.5% on January last year for out-of-town retail destinations. This reflects strong consumer confidence – more of us are happier to splash out on big ticket items, particularly furniture, which we usually travel out of town to view and buy.

“January is traditionally strong for online sales and this year was no exception. This has undoubtedly impacted on footfall for high streets and shopping centres and is further evidence of the impact of our changing shopping habits. Retailers will be looking closely at these figures to help them harness the growth of e-retailing to drive consumers to their bricks and mortar stores. Click-and-collect services are an excellent example of how this is happening right now and innovations in this area are set to continue for some time to come.

Diane Wehrle, Retail Insights Director at Springboard, said: “The 1.2% in footfall across the UK in January is a stark contrast to the 1.6% increase in January 2014, and this contrast is heightened further by the fact that it also comes in the face of a modest increase in retail sales in out-of-town locations whilst declining in both high streets and shopping centres. So while high streets and shopping centres still account for the majority of our shopping floor space, the on-going strengthening of out-of-town locations is clear evidence that our urban shopping locations are losing market share.”