Black Friday sales failed to tempt shoppers on to high streets, casting new doubt over the wisdom of British stores’ adoption of the US retail event.
High street footfall was down 4.2pc on last year. Including retail parks and shopping centres, 3.6pc fewer shoppers bothered to seek out a bargain on Friday.
The figures, compiled by Springboard, were significantly worse than an expected decline of just 0.6pc.
Saturday footfall was more resilient, down 0.9pc, with retail parks busy with shoppers collecting purchases made online.
Springboard says that consumers have grown wise to the fact that discounting continues after Black Friday.
Meanwhile, the volume of online transactions in the week before the event was up 11.3pc as retailers cut prices early, further diluting the impact on the high street.
The research company said its findings supported suggestions that consumers were curbing their spending under pressure from higher inflation and interest rates.
Some major retailers, such as Marks & Spencer, have abandoned Black Friday altogether. Steve Rowe, its chief executive, has sought to reduce its reliance on discounting in favour of consistently lower prices.