High streets and shopping centres are losing out to retail parks, which are capitalising on the attractiveness of homewares as house prices continue to rise.
New figures from the BRC/Springboard Footfall Monitor show that shopper traffic in May in the high street was 0.9% down on the previous May while footfall in shopping centres was down 1.5%.
Out-of-town reported the only rise, 3.3% higher than a year ago.
Overall, footfall in May was 0.2% down on a year ago, and marginally down on the 0.1% fall in April.
Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium director general, said: "This is the second successive month that footfall has eased back a touch, compared to the same period last year. However, actual retail sales over the period have risen, which points to the continuing impact and popularity of online shopping, particularly in non-food categories.
"As we saw with our retail sales data
released earlier this month, purchases of bigger ticket items for revamping the home and garden performed well off the back of the continued pick-up in the housing market."
Diane Wehrle, retail insights director at Springboard, said the drop in footfall "is a consequence of high streets and shopping centres losing out to retail parks which are benefiting from the inevitable lure of home products as house prices continue to rise".
Alongside increases in retail park footfall in every month this year, traffic in high streets and shopping centres has dropped in four of the five months since January.
Ipsos Retail Performance's Retail Traffic Index revealed recently that the number of specifically non-food shoppers fell in May
, but that the longer-term trend shows footfall levels gradually recovering.