Price inflation up for first time since 2002
High street sales growth unexpectedly fell 0.4 per cent to 3.2 per cent last month in the sharpest drop since January. Some analysts had expected a rise of 0.3 per cent.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also showed that price inflation had returned at retailers for the first time since January 2002, with overall prices on average up 0.6 per cent on the same time last year - the fastest rise since June 2001.

The ONS said: 'Retail sales had slowed further in September following the slight slowdown last month. Reductions in growth were evident across all retailing sectors'.

It added that the biggest cause of the slowdown was weaker demand for household goods and the lowest sales growth for non-food stores since April, at 0.5 per cent.

Food stores fared slightly better, with growth of 0.9 per cent against the same period last year.

The ONS added that the average weekly value of sales in September was£4.7 billion - up 3.9 per cent on last year.