Demand for big-ticket merchandise such as furniture helped out-of-town retail parks stay top of the footfall charts at the start of 2015.

January footfall across the UK was down 1.2 per cent, according to the British Retail Consortium’s monthly BRC/Springboard monitor.

However, that reflects continuing falls in the number of people walking high streets and shopping centres, which saw declines of 1.6 per cent and 2.8 per cent respectively.

The number of people going to out-of-town shopping destinations rose 1.5 per cent in January year-on-year, maintaining the trend that was evident throughout 2014.

BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: “This reflects strong consumer confidence — more of us are happier to splash out on big ticket items, particularly furniture, which we usually travel out of town to view and buy.”