Retailers received a small pre-Christmas boost last month, with sales picking up as consumers began to shop for the festive season.
Data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has shown total retail sales grew 2.6 per cent year-on-year in value terms in October, up from September's 2.4 per cent but well below the average of more than 3 per cent seen between May and August.
Food sales grew by 2 per cent in the last three months, although clothing saw a decline in sales for the first time since March, due to the unseasonable warm weather.
Online sales of non-food products have also grown by 12.1 per cent in the UK during October, with online penetration at 18.3 per cent for the month.
Elsewhere hard-pressed households saved money on footwear - which suffered a poor performance as sensible flat shoes marched off the shelves in good numbers while more-expensive boots dug their heels in as they failed to sell.
The report said department store sales were flattered by Eid falling in October rather than November this year, drawing Middle East customers.
BRC director-general Helen Dickinson said: "It's encouraging to see growth heading in the right direction again after a disappointing slowdown in September.
"Much of the improvement was driven by sustained demand for new games and gadgets, and there was also a strong showing for home accessories and textiles."
Forecasters have predicted that online spending will push over £10bn during December, the biggest one-month amount ever.
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