Shopper numbers at UK high streets rose in February, according to data released today (18 March), with consumers lured by new ranges and end-of-season promotions. 

Figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) showed UK retail footfall rose 0.8% against last year and improved from the 4.6% decline reported in January.

The BRC Springboard Footfall Monitor supports earlier data from the BRC which showed retail sales in the UK registered their strongest growth in three years during February - and clothing led the charge with its best figures in five months.

High streets saw footfall increase 2.7% year-on-year, which was the strongest growth since December 2011. Shopping centres and out-of-town locations, however, declined 1.6% and 1.5% respectively.

"This is a respectable result, which tallies with the signs of gradual improvement shown in our February sales figures," said BRC director general Helen Dickinson.

"Even though overall footfall is only marginally up on last year, the signs are that conversion rates were good. New ranges gave shoppers a spring in their step and end-of-season promotions also proved popular."

"February 2013 was generally milder than the snow-hit month we saw the previous year, which is a sure fire factor behind high streets posting their best result since December 2011.

"This is definitely the standout story for February, but it's only the third time in 12 months that high street footfall rates have edged over zero. Retailers will be hoping that Wednesday's Budget delivers concrete measures to build on this boost and put more money in people's pockets."

Meanwhile, Springboard research director Diane Wehrle added: "For the high street, one swallow does not make a summer, but these results might hint at the green shoots of recovery, or at least some stabilisation in the current environment."