Footfall in UK was 0.1% lower than a year ago in April, down on the 1.8% rise in March, according to the latest data released by British Retail Consortium (BRC).

High streets reported the largest decline, falling 1.4%, substantially down from the 2.6% rise in March while shopping centres witnessed a 0.9% decline in footfall.

In out-of-town locations, footfall fared the best with a 4.0% increase year-on-year.

Geographically, Northern Ireland reported the greatest increase in regional footfall, up 12.8% year-on-year.

The national town centre vacancy rate in the UK was 10.6% in April 2014, a decrease from January’s rate of 11.0%.

British Retail Consortium director general Helen Dickinson, said the flat footfall growth witnessed in April will prove short-lived, coming as it does after a favourable expansion the month before.

"The decline in the vacancy rate is heartening; however every tenth shop still remains unoccupied. This reinforces the need for an overhaul of the business rates system, which would increase retailers’ confidence about investing in property, create more jobs and help revive high streets," Dickinson added.