Like for like sales grew 0.8% in October, with total non-food sales falling in real terms according to the BRC.

Total sales were up 2.4% over the month. The result was marginally better than September, with food picking up due to higher inflation. Clothing and footwear had a poor month, with clothing sales falling for the first time in almost a year. Discretionary purchases were put off by consumers, and homewares, DIY and electricals had a challenging month.

On a three month weighted average, like for like non-food sales are down 0.2%, and total non-food sales were down too once inflation was taken into account. Non-food non-store sales growth slowed compared with September, up 12.8% against a strong comp from last year.

The second half of the month was stronger than the first, thanks to Halloween, colder weather and, the BRC hopers, shoppers having more clarity following the spending review.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said that “weak consumer confidence is continuing to undermine growth.”