Retail sales slowed in October as the cost-of-living crisis prompted customers to delay spending ahead of Christmas.

On a total basis, sales increased by 1.6% in the four weeks between October 2 and October 29, against an increase of 1.3% in October 2021, according to the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.


UK retail sales increased 1.2% on a like-for-like basis from October 2021, when they had decreased by 0.2%. 

Over the three months to October, food sales increased 5.1% on a total basis and 4.7% on a like-for-like basis. Over the same period, non-food decreased 1.2% on a total basis and 1.8% on a like-for-like basis.

Online non-food sales decreased by 6.3% in October, against a decline of 8% in October 2021. While non-food online penetration rates fell to 39.9% in October from 42% at the same point last year.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “As the cost of living for consumers continued to rise, retail sales slowed in October. With Black Friday Sales just around the corner, many people look to be delaying spending, particularly on bigger purchases. Clothing and footwear, which saw stronger sales this year, declined as the mild weather meant customers held back on buying winter outfits. Meanwhile, electric blankets, air fryers and other energy-efficient appliances continued to fly off the shelves as people sought future cost savings.

“Christmas will come later than last year for many and may be more gloom than glitter as families focus on making ends meet, particularly as mortgage payments rise. Retailers hope the World Cup and Black Friday will give sales a much-needed boost ahead of Christmas. However, with little sign of cost pressures easing, government action is needed to support households.

“Retailers face an additional, government-imposed £800m inflationary increase in their business rates bills next year so the government should freeze rates and reform the broken transitional relief system to alleviate cost pressures that are feeding through to higher prices at a time when people are least able to afford them.”