There was more grim news for retailers today after footfall figures showed a slowdown in shopper footfall compared to the same period last year.
Figures from the BRC revealed footfall in December was 1.2% down on 2011, with some areas of the UK seeing slumps of more than 10%.
There was, however, some light in the gloom, with the BRC revealing evidence that customers were making fewer trips but buying more when they did visit the shops.
Shopping centres reported the greatest reduction in footfall (-2.8%), followed by out-of-town (-1%) and high street (-0.5%) locations.
The hardest-hit parts of the UK in December were Wales (-11.5%), the East of England (-7.1%) and the North & Yorkshire (-4.8%).
“Although overall shopper numbers were slightly down on 2011, it appears that conversion rates were good – when people did get out to the shops they bought more per trip,” said BRC director general, Helen Dickinson.
“The growing popularity of online retail also had an impact on shopper numbers,” she added. “But it’s important to remember that online retail sales are only just over 10% of all retail spending.”