Overall shop footfall between May and July was 1% lower than the same period a year earlier, according to the latest BRC-Springboard retail monitor.
Falling shopper numbers in the UK were driven by a 1.9% fall in people visiting out-of-town complexes. The number of people entering shopping centres rose by 0.6%.
It said that over the past 12 months, the high street had been hit hardest with footfall plummeting 2.6% on average.
The hardest hit locations were Wales (-9.2%), the West Midlands (-6.6%) and the East of England (-6.2%), which recorded the sharpest decreases in footfall.
In terms of location, the monitor revealed that Greater London (1.6%), the South West (0.4%) and Scotland (0.2%) were the only places that saw shopper numbers rise.
Diane Wehrle, research director at Springboard, said: “Compared with the past three years, a drop in footfall of one per cent year-on-year is actually very modest and the decline has been steadily softening throughout 2011.”
The research also revealed that the national town centre vacancy rate in the UK for May was 11.2%. Northern Ireland (17.1%), Wales (13.4%) and the North and Yorkshire (13.1%) recorded the highest vacancy rates.