The British Retail Consortium has released its footfall statistics for the week beginning November 28th and the week beginning December 5th.
While the last week of November saw "exceptional" footfall, the first week in December saw footfall in all locations down when compared with the same week in 2010.
For the week beginning December 5th, the number of shoppers on the High Street fell sharply, by 2.6 per cent, followed by shopping centres and out of town, which fell 1.9 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively.
"The final week of November was exceptional for footfall," commented Stephen Robertson, BRC director general. "Many people had just been paid and headed out, a sharp contrast to the same week last year which was blighted by heavy snow.
"Retailers are telling us the increased footfall did translate into an increase in sales, although some of this was spending brought forward, undermining shopper numbers the following week.
"Footfall should be on a rising trend as Christmas gets closer. This drop shows festive sales are still on a knife edge. The fact that Christmas Day falls on a Sunday will mean some shoppers leaving purchases until the final Saturday, but with only one full week of trading to go before the holidays the final result is very much hanging in the balance."
Diane Wehrle, research director at Springboard, added: "These figures are an early indication that high streets are experiencing more challenging trading conditions than their shopping centre and out of town counterparts."