Bad weather towards the end of November hit footfall across the high street as underlying sales dropped 0.2% last month, and it is expected shoppers will leave spending to the last minute this year.

Data from accountancy firm BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker showed there was a “strong start” to the month due to the half-term holidays. Fashion sales surged 13.1% in the first week of the month but then slumped 6.9% in the last week of the month.

Homewares also delivered a 0.5% fall in sales in November.

BDO national head of retail and wholesale Don Williams said retailers should be “spooked by a poor November”.

He added: “People will not cancel Christmas. They are just following the trend of the Christmas period getting later every year thanks to extended opening hours and better online shopping services, and the atrocious weather has just given them another reason to delay their festive shopping.”

With Christmas Eve falling on a working day this year consumers are expected to leave their Christmas shopping until later in the month.

Looking ahead to the new year Williams forecast more administrations, following the collapse of the electricals chain Comet last month. He said: “We continue to believe that there is a high risk that we will see further failures in the first weeks of 2013 once the festive sales period is over.”