High street footfall increased by 2.7% in February in comparison to a year ago, the strongest growth since December 2011.

As reported in the latest Footfall Monitor from the British Retail Consortium and Springboard, the provider of automated customer counting services, overall footfall last month was 0.8% higher than a year ago, and an improvement on January’s 4.6% drop in figures.

Both shopping centre and out-of-town locations experienced a fall in footfall, by 1.6% and 1.5% respectively.

Helen Dickinson, director general at the BRC, said: “This is a respectable result, which tallies with the signs of gradual improvement shown in our February sales figures. Even though overall footfall is only marginally up on last year, the signs are that conversion rates were good. New ranges gave shoppers a spring in their step and end-of-season promotions also proved popular.”

She added that milder weather last month, in comparison to February 2012 which saw flurries of snow, was a “sure-fire factor” behind high streets posting their best footfall results for the last 15 months. However, Dickinson added it was only the third occasion during the last 12 months in which rates had edged over zero.

“Retailers will be hoping that Wednesday’s Budget delivers concrete measures to build on this boost and put more money in people’s pockets,” she said.

Diane Wehrle, research director at Springboard, said: “Footfall on the high street increased annually in February - the first annual increase since November last year and the largest increase in a single month since December 2011. Conversely, footfall in shopping centres and retail parks declined annually.

“The disparity could be explained by the recent decline in multiples being primarily located in shopping centres and retail parks, with high streets offering a wider diversity. For the high street, one swallow does not make a summer, but these results might hint at the green shoots of recovery, or at least some stabilisation in the current environment.”