The number of people visiting shops was down nearly 5% in January compared with 2012 as snow hit many parts of the country.
Figures from the British Retail Consortium show that footfall was down 7.2% in retail parks, 5.2% in shopping centres and 3.3% in high streets.
Overall footfall in January was 4.6% lower than a year ago, a poorer performance than the 1.2% fall in December.
The BRC said snow hit shopper numbers across the country during the second half of the month which had a noticeable impact on the figures.
"This steep drop in footfall is obviously a cause for concern but, as our sales figures showed last week, fewer shoppers on the streets doesn’t seem to have dented sales growth in January," said BRC Director General Helen Dickinson.
"The mid-month snow took its toll on numbers of people out braving the elements, especially when making journeys to out-of-town retail parks, but it seems that many of us stayed one step ahead of the big chill and bought more on fewer shopping trips."
The BRC also reported that the town centre vacancy rate – unoccupied retail units – stood at 10.9%, down from 11.3% in October 2012.
Ms Dickinson said the headline figure masked strong regional variations, with Wales recording a particularly high rate, 17%, compared with the previous quarter.
"If the Government wants to support reducing the vacancy rate further, it could really help by freezing business rates in April," she said.