Retail footfall edged up 0.3% in May compared with the same month last year, according to data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard.
The latest Footfall and Vacancies Monitor found the increase in retail footfall was up on the 2.4% decline seen in April and significantly above the three-month average rate of -1.7%.
High streets performed particularly well, recording a 1.2% increase in May – better than the 4.7% decline in April. This is the best performance on the high street since July 2013, excluding Easter distortions.
Footfall in retail park locations increased 1.2% year-on-year, up from the 1.1% rise in April. Despite the marginal uplift from the previous month, the growth rate has been on a downward trajectory since January.
Meanwhile, shopping centre footfall fell 2.1% in May – the second time this year that footfall in shopping centres has underperformed the high street.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive at the BRC, said: “With total footfall figures up and high streets seeing a reversal in fortunes, today’s figures offer some respite from the relentless downward trend we’ve seen building in recent months.
“However, we know from our recent data that it’s online, rather than stores, that has driven May’s sales upturn.
“Footfall up and store sales down gives credence to the trend of an increasing use of the high street for leisure activities and the researching of purchases made online either later or on the move through mobile devices.”