UK retail figures for February reveal like-for-like sales slowed to 1.3 per cent - the lowest level in over three years.
The British Retail Consortium-KPMG sales monitor showed like-for-like sales growth had dropped from 4.1 per cent in January, to match the September 1999-low.
Footwear was the only sector to fare well, with product walking out of shops partly because of the unseasonably good weather. Electronics, furniture, gardening and DIY emerged as the worst-performing areas, with customers hesitating over big-ticket items.
The impact of recent disruption in the West End of London - including the month-long closure of the Central Line - has not been taken into account.