Compulsory face masks did not deter or encourage shoppers returning to the high street last month, the latest research showed.
A quarter of consumers said they were more likely to go shopping after the face mask rule was brought in, while 21 per cent said the new restrictions would discourage them.
In the week beginning 19 July, when face coverings were made compulsory in English stores, footfall dipped 2.8 per cent, statistics showed.
However retail experts said it was too soon to judge the impact of face masks on long-term footfall trends.
Weekly footfall figures in July were up by 12.7 per cent compared to June, but yearly figures were down 53 per cent, according to Ipsos Retail Performance data.
Tim Dension, director of retail intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance, said: “From the off in mid-June, shoppers made a nervous and hesitant return to the stores, understandably anxious about their safety and re-wired to prefer shopping online.
“Though footfall levels have risen every consecutive week since stores re-opened bar last week, they started from a very low base.
“It is still very early days, but the inauguration of face masks has not provided a light-switch moment for physical stores, nor the acceleration that the Government had hoped for.
He added: “We all feel a little self-conscious when donning the vizard, but if everyone plays by the same rule it will soon become second nature and help allay concerns. However, the minority of people who choose to disregard the edict not only risk re-kindling anxiety for other shoppers, but also discouraging the majority from returning to the same stores again.”