Shoppers kept away from the high street in favour of online, last month, decreasing the number of footfalls at stores during the Christmas spending season.
High street footfalls declined 4 per cent in December as against the previous year while shopping centres experienced a 2 per cent dip, figures by Springboard revealed.
''Shopper footfall shrivelled once again last month and at a faster rate than compared to the three-month average'', said Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium chief executive, The Telegraph reported. ''December was the ninth consecutive month in which shopper footfall has declined, with high streets in particular but also shopping malls continuing to fare poorly.''
However, retail parks benefited during the month, with footfalls increasing 2.1 per cent year-on-year. According to sector experts, shopper convenience was the reason behind the fall with most retail parks offering free car parking.
''Much has been mentioned of the ongoing success of retail parks over the last two years in growing their shopper base and – whilst the volumes of footfall in these destinations remain far lower than in either high streets or shopping centres – in concert with online, they clearly represent an increasingly strong draw for shoppers'', said Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at Springboard.
Meanwhile, figures from the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) showed footfall had improved by a fraction - 0.2 per cent, against a year ago.
Christmas sales and cheaper petrol helped increase the number of people going into Scotland's shops.
It was significantly above the 4.2 per cent dip for November and was the best footfall performance since April last year.
SRC director David Lonsdale said, "The growth in shopper numbers last month may only have been a smidgen higher than in the same period the year before, however it comes as welcome relief after declining figures in each of the previous seven months, BBC News reported.
"The challenge for our town centres will be turning this into a more sustained uptick in the months ahead, particularly as the popularity of online shopping and click-and-collect services continues to soar, providing ever greater choice and convenience for customers.''