UK retailers were unexpectedly hit by reduced shopper footfall over the bank holiday weekend, reports say.

Footfall at shopping centres, retail parks and high streets during 27-28 August fell 4.1% compared to the same period a year ago, the BBC reported citing research done by retail analyst Springboard. The firm had last week predicted footfall to rise 6.5%.

Diane Wehrle, marketing director at Springboard, said the surprise drop could not be solely attributed to bad weather, and suggested that a shift in focus on bank holidays towards leisure activities such as eating out could partly explain the fall.

Footfall at high streets fell by 7%, while those at shopping centres and out-of-town retail parks were 3.3% and 2.4% lower respectively.

Wehrle added that there had been a shift towards evening trips from shopping during the daytime.

UK retail sales were up 5.9% in July compared to the same period a year ago, with anecdotal evidence suggesting that both warmer weather and a weaker pound had helped boost sales.