The shop vacancy rates also make for bad reading after a difficult start to the year, which has seen a raft of high-profile retail collapses. Fashion chain Republic was the latest to hit the wall last week, joining other major casualties HMV, Jessops and Blockbuster.
The British Retail Consortium said it was encouraging that, while higher than the 10.3% seen last January, the vacancy rate of 10.9% was lower than the 11.3% recorded in October.
But some regions are particularly badly affected by vacant shops, with the rate now standing at 17% in Wales, 17.2% in Northern Ireland and 10.2% in Scotland.
More top news
Dame Helen Mirren was forced to improvise during an awards acceptance speech as mic slips to down to half her height.
The Duchess will carry out her first engagement as Honorary Air Commandant of the Air Cadets after assuming the role in December.
Stars will entertain an audience of more than 100 million as they take to the Super Bowl half-time stage.