UK retail like-for-likes edged up 0.4% year on year in November signalling a nervous wait for retailers ahead of Christmas.

Total sales advance 1.8%, according to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.

Food like-for-likes increased 0.6% on a three-month basis but declined in real terms. Non-food advanced 0.7% over the three months, benefiting from the favourable timing of half term.

Online sales jumped 7.5% year on year but showed no material pick up from October. There was, however, a boost in the last week of the period due to Black Friday.

BRC director-general Stephen Robertson said: “November was off to a flying start helped by end-of-month paydays, mid-season Sales and the impact of half term. But sales slowed as November unfolded, suggesting that customers are taking care not to spend too much too soon.

“Overall, the emphasis continued to be on value with consumers looking at lower priced gifts. The same caution hit online sales, which delivered their third worst performance of the year.”

KPMG head of retail David McCorquodale agreed that November was a “cautious month of wait and see”.

He said: “Retailers enter December in a state of nervousness due to weak top-line growth and pressure on margins. Pricing throughout the month and strategic promotions will be fundamental in a key month.”