More evidence that the continuing mild weather adversely impacted October fashion sales came today (17 November) with a report that UK shopper numbers fell during the month.

According to the BRC/Springboard Footfall Monitor, retail footfall was 0.8% lower than a year ago, almost flat with the 0.9% drop in September. 

Shopping centres reported the largest decline for the second consecutive month, falling 1.9%, while high streets experienced a 1.4% drop in footfall, down on the 0.6% dip in September. Out-of-town fared the best with a 1.9% increase year-on-year.

The national town centre vacancy rate was 10.3%, up on July's rate of 10.1%.

BRC director general Helen Dickinson Helen Dickinson said: "In order to drive up footfall, some local areas need to continue to learn from more successful town centres by encouraging pop-ups, using empty premises as community spaces or even as arts venues to ensure that empty shops don't become a blight on the local area. Consideration needs to be given to how people want to use their high streets now and in the future."

Meanwhile, Diane Wehrle, retail insights director at Springboard, said the data was "disappointing" but "not surprising".

"The entire 0.8% decline in October emanated from high streets and shopping centres - which is likely to be a fall out of the continuing mild weather adversely impacting fashion sales - whilst retail parks continued their charge with footfall increasing for the tenth month in a row."

But the scale of decline, she added, is "far more modest" than the decline of 2.9% in October last year.