High streets suffered a slump in footfall in the three months to July compared with the previous year, new research reveals.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said high streets had seen the biggest drop in footfall over the past 12 months, at -2.6%, compared with the overall average of -1%. The hardest hit locations were Wales (-9.2%), the West Midlands (-6.6%) and the East of England (-6.2%). Greater London saw the biggest rise in footfall (up 1.6%), while the South West and Scotland experienced nominal rises.

The national town centre shop vacancy rate stands at 11.2%, with Northern Ireland recording the highest rate of vacancies at 17.1%.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: "In July all types of shopping locations saw reduced footfall year on year, and that was before the effect of the recent civil disturbances in England."

He added: "Fewer people are shopping because households are facing high inflation, low wage growth and uncertainty about future job prospects. But that's slightly offset by hard-up customers spreading their spending over more but less costly shopping trips."