Retail sales volumes slid 0.1 per cent between September and October, with the largest decreases occurring in textiles, clothing and footwear, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

In the three months to the end of October, sales rose 5.1 per cent, compared with last year when growth was reported in all sectors. Sales volumes for non-food stores were 6.9 per cent higher than a year ago, while those at food stores increased 1.7 per cent – the largest increase for this sector since October last year.

The average weekly value of sales in October was£5.1 billion – 3.2 per cent higher than the previous year. Ernst & Young director of retail Lisa Dillon said: “October’s 0.1 per cent volume decline appears to accelerate the weak trading conditions observed throughout the year. Clearly, this does not bode well for Christmas trading.

“The consumer has had a rough year – a combination of successive interest rate hikes, unemployment starting to edge up, record levels of personal debt and fixed-rate mortgages finally starting to bite mean that consumers are approaching the festive season with a level of caution. It all adds up to a relatively tough Christmas and an even tougher New Year.”