The UK’s beleaguered high streets have taken another hit, with the news that October witnessed the biggest fall in shopper numbers since the last year’s snow-hit December. According toe the latest research from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), footfall in October dropped to 4.7%, with consumers’ income levels impacts by increasing fuel bills and the confidence hot by the continuing eurozone crisis. Footfall at shopping centres and out-of-town retail parks was also impacted, with footfall declining 2.2% and 1.6% respectively during last month. Total retail footfall was down 2.3% in the three months to the end of October compared to the same period in 2010. The research also found that the number of empty shops in town centres stood at around 11%, which the BRC described as “alarmingly high”. The West Midlands, Scotland and Northern Ireland were the regions worst affected, while Wales and the South East saw an increase in shopper numbers. Stephen Robertson, director general at the BRC, said. “In October UK high streets saw the sharpest drop in footfall since last December's blizzards. A successful Christmas will be a lifeline for many retailers and they will be hoping that sort of disruption doesn't add to their woes this time around. “Retailers will be hoping the quiet quarter reflected in these figures is the result of households postponing their seasonal spending rather than cancelling it altogether.”