A surge in inflation has been blamed for keeping consumers away from Britain’s high streets last month - even before interest rates were raised.

According to figures published by market intelligence group Springboard and the British Retail Consortium (BRC), overall footfall in October slipped by 2% compared with the same period last year, which marked the lowest growth rate since last year’s Brexit referendum. 

British Retail Consortium chief exeuctive Helen Dickinson said: “All shopping destinations saw shopper footfall ease back in October, which mirrors the month’s paltry sales performance.

“Even retail parks, which have continually bucked the trend until now, struggled to attract as many visitors as the previous year.”

Data showed that only the East of England saw growth in October. Footfall in the region rose by 1%, representing an 11th consecutive month of growth.

According to the BRC, total sales growth in the four weeks to 28 October also fell by 1%, its lowest rate since May and below the 12-month average.

Dickinson added: “Retailers will have cause for concern as they prepare for the crucial run up to Christmas.

“The decline was driven by the worst performance of non-food sales since our record began in January 2011, as consumers appear to have opted for outdoor experiences and excursions during half term, over visits to the shops. The growth in food sales meanwhile, adds some colour to this otherwise anaemic picture, but these figures are very much buoyed by inflation.”