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High street drenched as shoppers take cover

The exceptionally soggy summer weather decimated footfall on the UK's high streets between May and July, compounding the pressure on hard-pressed retailers from the prolonged consumer-spending downturn. Visitor numbers to the high street have now fallen for the past year and a half, though the persistent rain meant that shopping centres offering cover from the elements fared better over the last quarter.

A 0.2 per cent rise in town-centre shop-vacancy rates to 11.4 per cent further lays bare the malaise affecting retail chains without a substantial internet presence, as the inexorable shift to online shopping continues unabated, according to the British Retail Consortium and Springboard survey.