Like-for-like sales rose 0.3% in September according to the BRC, but the hot weather at the end of the month hit fashion sales, which showed their largest fall since August 2009.

Total sales for the month were up 2.5%. Non-food non-store sales rose by 10.1%, well below the 19.1% growth rate recorded in the same month last year.

Food sales growth remained at a similiar level to July and August, and are up 2.1% like-for-like and 5.1% in total on a three-month weighted average basis. After a slow start to September the supermarkets were helped by the warm end to the month.

Non-food sales showed some improvement on recent months, driven by a better month for homewares and DIY, and despite fashion having a very poor end to the month. On a three-month weighted average basis, like-for-likes were down 1.4% and total sales down 0.1%.

“Underlying conditions remain weak” said BRC director general Stephen Robertson. “As we head into the year’s most important trading period, we need a return of optimism. That requires people to feel that next year they will see some payback for the current pain.”