Retail footfall in the UK fell by 18.0% in August compared to two years prior, according to data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Sensormatic IQ.
The data covers the four weeks from 1 to 28 August and shows a 10.0% increase from the previous month.
This figure is above the three-month average decline of 24.6%.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson OBE said: “Following months of little improvement, August footfall was a tentative step in the right direction.
“There were minor improvements with the return of some workers to the office and domestic tourism through August, [but] overall footfall remained significantly down compared to the pre-pandemic peak.
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“For our local communities to thrive, [the] government must deliver on the commitment it made in the business rates review to reduce the overall burden of the tax, which is hindering retailers’ ability to invest and create jobs and leading to store closures across the country.
“It is vital the government delivers on this commitment when it publishes the conclusion of its review over the coming months.”
In shopping centres across the UK, footfall fell by 32.9%, while high streets saw a 24.8% decline in footfall.
Retail parks were least affected by the trend, with just a 1.6% drop in footfall.
Sensormatic Solutions Europe, Middle East and Asia (EMEA) retail consultant Andy Sumpter said: “Bolstered by staycationer shopper traffic and the ‘Back to School’ boost, August saw footfall recovering to its highest point compared to pre-pandemic levels so far this year.
“Every UK city we track – including London, which has sorely felt the impact of slow returning commuter trade in recent months – showed improved shopper counts, as vaccine confidence won out against the fears and spread of the Delta variant.”
Last month, the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) released data showing the volume of retail sales in the country had dropped by 2.5% between June and July.