THE Christmas high street shopping rush thinned again in December, with footfall dropping as consumers relied on the internet.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) says footfall fell 3.7 per cent last month compared with 2012, with numbers dropping 3.8 per cent in the last quarter.

The fall was the worst drop since August 2012.

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According to the BRC report, the UK's high streets suffered more than out-of-town retailers.

In England, the South-West saw the worst decline, with footfall down 3.4 per cent. Wales saw a drop of 3.8 per cent, while Northern Ireland experienced an 8.7 per cent slump and Scotland's numbers were down 1.9 per cent.

The results come after a previous survey revealed nearly one in five non-food purchases were made online in December.

Helen Dickinson, BRC director-general, said: “These figures highlight how the rapid evolution of multichannel is changing the face of shopping, particularly at Christmas.

“Rather than making multiple trips to the shops over the festive period, many of us planned ahead for our gift-buying and took advantage of retailers investment in services like click-and-collect.”