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
Former Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman has said he no longer watches the programme but revealed he's a fan of dating show Take Me Out
Prince Harry will miss the birth of his new niece or nephew as he has flown back to Australia.
Myleene Klass is set to shock Countdown fans by giving a naughty eight-letter word as her answer on tonight's show.