According to BRC-KPMG sales monitor, non-food sales in October fell to their lowest point in five years.
Like-for-like sales had fallen by one percent compared to October 2016 – the biggest drop since records began in 2012.
The BRC has warned of the increased interest level and how it might make shoppers more cautious.
Helen Dickinson, the BRC chief executive, said: “Considering the intrinsic link between consumer spending and economic growth, the chancellor should reflect on this disappointing state of play and deliver a budget that allays the risks of a further slowdown in consumer spending, by keeping down the cost of living. In other words, a shoppers’ budget,”
“It was a meagre month in October for retail sales as shopping activity slumped. With total growth at its lowest since May and below the 12-month average, retailers will have cause for concern as they prepare for the crucial run-up to Christmas,” she continued.
The poor retail results also reflect October’s warmer weather, deterring shoppers from buying winter clothes.
Paul Martin, head of retail at KPMG, said: “October marked yet another reversal of fortunes for retailers, reinforcing just how volatile consumer spend has been,”
“Despite the positive picture last month, these latest figures will be a real disappointment and not the start to the golden quarter retailers had hoped for.”
Paula Nickolds, managing director of John Lewis, said earlier this month about the effect the weather was going to have on sales “October is going to look pretty grim for the market”.
“It is not a contraction of the market, it is more about the vagaries of the weather,”
John Lewis reported a slump in sales on October 21 by 4.8 percent, with fashion sales down by 6.9 percent.
Barclaycard, the credit card company, said that consumers are only buying essential items as the spending growth lies at 2.4 percent compared to the three percent interest rate.