Clothing and footwear sales saw double-digit like-for-like growth in the first week of the month as customers bought autumn and winter collections, but faded as they were too nervous to fill their wardrobes with them.
David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said October sales figures had been like a "disappointing firework - full of promise, but eventually fizzing out with a whimper" and said winning a share of the Christmas wallet over the next two months would be just as competitive as last year.
More top news
The United States has sanctioned 271 Syrian government employees in response to Bashar Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons.
Weather warning in force across central and northern Scotland until 9am Tuesday morning.
We're all narcissists now (aren't we) so it must be OK for me to see the prism of UK politics through my two stints as a political editor.