Shopping footfall fell -2.6% last week compared to 2014, as it shapes up to be a muted Christmas on the high street, according to global retail and footfall consultant Ipsos Retail Performance, which compiles the Retail Traffic Index (RTI), which is derived from the number of individual shoppers entering over 4000 non-food retail stores across the UK.

Ipsos reports that, following a very slow start to the month, store traffic recovered somewhat, with the number of shopping trips for the week beginning 6th December rising +6.6% on the previous week across the UK. This was -0.5% lower than forecasted, leading to revised projections that December’s traffic would be down -0.9% on last year, rather than the +1.3% improvement originally envisaged.

Scotland and Northern Ireland led the charge to recover lost ground, with traffic levels climbing +11.8% on the previous week. The only region that saw year-on-year growth was Wales and South-west England, where footfall was +4.1% higher than in 2014.

Dr Tim Denison, director of retail intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance, comments: “With less than a fortnight to go until Christmas, it is beginning to look as if store footfall will be lower than last year. We had expected to see more people shopping early this year, taking advantage of extended promotions after Black Friday, but this has yet to materialise. Time will tell whether the slack has been taken up by online and mobile, or whether shopping per se is more subdued this year than last. Unless there is a substantial last-minute rush to the shops, we now project a drop of -0.9% on 2014.”