Footfall in the high street continued to decline during the month of May.

According to the BRC/Springboard footfall monitor for May 2013, high street footfall dropped 1% compared to a year ago. Overall footfall dropped 0.7% for the period with only out-of-town sites seeing an increase (1.2%).

May’s reduction marks a sharp decline compared to April when the high street saw a 3.4% year-on-year rise in footfall.

British Retail Consortium director general Helen Dickinson said that even though footfall decreased, there was cause for optimism.

“While footfall saw a slight drop compared with May 2012, the month’s respectable sales growth suggests that conversion rates were good: people made fewer trips but responded well to good deals, especially on value ranges and seasonal promotions,” she said. “Now that we’re into June, retailers will be hoping that summer sales and sunshine will make for a stronger showing next time.”

Springboard retail insights director Diane Wehrle said the research also revealed that consumers want larger high streets and that the evening economy was keeping high street footfall from decreasing further.

“Footfall in regional cities is increasing whilst it is dropping in smaller towns, indicating that shoppers are increasingly gravitating towards larger destinations, and the evening economy is clearly protecting and insulating the high street,” she said. “This reflects the feedback we are receiving from town centre managers who state that by far the strongest demand for units is from food and beverage occupiers who operate outside of retail trading hours.”