Shopper numbers in June fell back, after a May rises bucked the downwards trend.
The SPSL retail traffic index shows the number of shoppers entering non-food retail outlets in the UK fell by 1.3 per cent in June against May.
Shopper numbers were also down 1.3 per cent against June last year.
Regional shopping centres were most strongly hit with numbers down 4.9 per cent - as rising fuel costs stop people driving.
Dr Tim Denison, SPSl retail psychologist, explained a fall in shopper numbers was expected for June.
"Times continue to be very challenging both in the retail trade and the wider economy," he said.
"Whereas over the past few years it has very much been consumer and public spending that have kept the economy growing, both have now slowed significantly with little prospect of any other sector stepping in to pick up the baton."
Dr Denison explained consumers are now faced with a stark choice of carrying on shopping regardless to maintain accustomed lifestyles, easing off and cutting down on unnecessary wastage and expenditure, or radically reviewing what can be afforded by redefining basics and luxuries and so resetting shopping behaviour to the beat of a new drum.
He said: "Consumers have certainly embarked on a journey. We are seeing definite incremental changes in mindset and behaviour.
"Shoppers are thinking twice about where they go and how they spend their money. Regional shopping centres have certainly lost out again in June, penalised by the rapid and relentless rise in fuel prices. Rather than venture out on more distant day-trips, shoppers have preferred to visit local centres."
Dr Denison added: "It does not suggest that we are standing at the cliff edge Times are challenging and changing, but not calamitous in retail."