Hopes for a continuing pre-Christmas sales revival were dashed today amid signs that consumers are still limiting spending to essential items.
In its worst figures outside of a seasonal period for 11 months, the British Retail Consortium said October's UK retail sales were 0.1% lower on a like-for-like basis than a year ago, ending the modest revival seen in September.
The figures heighten nerves in the sector ahead of the festive period, particularly after the collapse of electricals chain Comet.
More top news
Wembley Stadium hosts the women's FA Cup final for the first time this weekend when last season's beaten semi-finalists meet
Those embarking across the Channel should prepare for disruption due to the problems at Calais terminals and the impact of Operation Stack.
Pensioner's photo evidence being used in the hunt for two men captured on a stolen bike in an incident that saw him suffer a heart attack.