The number of shoppers in non-food stores increased by 1.2% in September, marking the first month in which retail footfall has risen.
Figures released by Ipsos Retail Performance show the Retail Traffic Index stood 7.3% up on Q2, well above the 4.4% seasonal average of the three previous years.
Dr Tim Denison, Director of Retail Intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance, said: “We have been seeing footfall gradually returning to the shops as the year has worn on.
“The gap on last year has been steadily closing, and now, for the first time this year, we have recorded a month of growth.”
The figures appear to support the forecast of Ernst & Young’s ITEM Club, as the Asda Income Tracker also indicated that household spending power has risen for the third consecutive month.
Dr Denison added: “None of these latest results are symptomatic of an economy on the slide,but at the same time we might fool ourselves that everything is rosy.
“Many indicators are still pointing in the wrong direction and those that have turned may have just seen temporary respite. Concerns over energy and commodity price increases, for example, could refuel inflation towards the end of the year.
“Let’s be clear, retailing is still hurting. The number of retailers entering administration is once again on the rise, as a consequence of the continuing low level of demand, and margin sacrifice. The number of store units in the UK run by multiples has shrunk for the first time in history.
“We continue to read about retrenchment and redundancy. But equally let’s not talk ourselves down and back into decline. Some key metrics are showing signs of improvement and we should be thankful for that.”