Footfall in Northern ireland down by 2.3% in August due to a slump in confidence
Footfall in Northern Ireland's shops and retail parks fell by 2.3% during August - the third month in a row of decline, according to latest figures.
The Springboard Footfall and Vacancies Monitor said the August performance contrasted with growth of 2.5% a year earlier, and was a steeper fall on July's 2% drop.
And Northern Ireland had the poorest August performance of any UK region this year - with an industry body saying the industry needed to see a restoration of devolved government to restore consumer confidence.
Retail parks, shopping centres and the high street were all suffering from a low turnout of shoppers during the month. However, more spending was being done online, with sales up 11%.
Aodhan Connolly, director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, said: "This is another underwhelming performance when compared to the rest of the UK, with our shopper footfall numbers again being rock bottom of the league table.
"Most disappointing is that Northern Ireland has now seen a full quarter of footfall decline across all three areas measured, high streets, retail parks and shopping centres, and at a faster rate of decline than over the past year as a whole. Tempting shoppers back is crucial, not least to reducing the already high number of vacant premises, and retailers and shopping destinations will be working even harder to attract custom through improving service, ranges, pricing and promotions.
"However what we also need is renewed consumer confidence and greater certainty which would flow from the restoration of political leadership and devolved government here in Northern Ireland."
And the fall in footfall was higher than in the UK as a whole, where it had fallen by just 1.2% during August.
Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at Springboard, said shopping patterns for day time hours further indicated that August had been a underperforming month. Footfall was down 2.4% during the day time, compared to a fall of 0.4% during August last year, and a fall of just 0.8% during July.