Shopper numbers at out-of-town retail parks maintained their 2014 growth run with a 1.3 per cent rise in December.

Figures from the BRC/Springboard Footfall Monitor recorded successive rises at shopping parks throughout last year, though the growth trend slowed as the year progressed.

Edge and out-of-town store destinations have outscored other types of retail destinations all through 2014, and this continued in December with footfall on high streets down 1.8 per cent and shopping centres dipping fractionally, by 0.1 per cent.

All types of retail destinations combined were down 0.7 per cent, which was actually the smallest year-on-year decline since January 2014.

“It's worth noting that fewer shoppers doesn't necessarily equal poorer sales,” said Helen Dickinson, director general at the British Retail Consortium.

“We know that sales have been strong across the Christmas period. This tells us that retailers are getting to grips with the way people's shopping habits are changing and using methods like click-and-collect to drive internet traffic toward physical stores while, at the same time, targeting discounts to encourage higher sales.”