Footfall at non-food retailers fell by 3.7 per cent during January compared to 2007, according to the Retail Traffic Index.
The figures from Synovate Retail Performance showed that the sales failed to stimulate interest from consumers, with footfall down a staggering 27.9 per cent between the last week of December and the first week of January.
The last three weeks of January saw footfall decline a further ten per cent. That was despite a GfK report released earlier this week that showed both volume and value sales of PCs and televisions seeing strong growth during the month.
Synovate's retail psychologist Dr Tim Denison put the blame for the decline down to customers having no month left after the post Christmas sales. "This time around, Sale shoppers hit the stores earlier and en masse to compete for the best bargains after retailers had largely held their pricing nerve in the weeks before Christmas.
"That late December frenzy left little in reserve for January. Concerned about what 2009 will bring for them, consumers are being understandably cautious about spending," he added.