Total retail footfall in the UK declined by 9.8% last month on a year-on-three-years (Yo3Y) basis, according to data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Sensormatic IQ.
The data revealed that footfall improved by 2.6 percentage points from August and was better than the three-month average fall of 11.4%.
During the month, footfall on high streets dropped by 11.9% on a Yo3Y basis, but increased by 1.7 percentage points from August.
This was above the three-month average decline of 13.0%.
Footfall in shopping centres remained the same last month but declined by 22.7% Yo3Y. The figure was above the three-month average decline of 23.0%.
On a regional basis, England recorded the lowest footfall decline at -7.9%, followed by Wales with -8.7%.
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Scotland and Northern Ireland suffered the highest drops, both posting -13.4% declines.
On a year-on-year basis, total footfall increased by 8.0%, while high streets and shopping centres recorded growths of 12.9% and 17.3% respectively.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Footfall reached its highest level since the onset of the pandemic, coming within 10% of its pre-pandemic levels.
“High Streets and retail parks saw an improvement in shopper numbers, while shopping centres continued to lag significantly behind, still more than a fifth down from three years ago.
“Shopping centres continue to see higher vacancy rates than other locations, with many not having recovered from the loss of key anchor stores such as Debenhams, which went into liquidation during the pandemic.
“Meanwhile, soaring cost inflation is leading to upwards pressure on prices. The recent mini-budget failed to provide retailers with clarity on the future of business rates, already a massive cost.
“Without action, retailers could face a 10% rise in their rates bill – equal to an additional £800m across the industry.”
Earlier this year, the BRC and Sensormatic IQ released data showing a 10.5% Yo3Y decline in retail footfall for the month of June.