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Retail sales continued its hard slog in October with sales increasing by just 0.1 percent on a like-for-like (LFL) basis from October 2017, when they had decreased 1 percent from the preceding year.

“October kicks off the all-important golden quarter, with some retailers earning the majority of their annual profits in these months alone. But with October’s like-for-like sales flat lining at 0.1 percent, it was a bit of a non-starter,” noted Paul Martin, Head of Retail at KPMG.

“Demand was mainly dampened by continued economic uncertainty, as well as the anticipation for the deep discounting ahead – especially now that Black Friday weekend has become such a permanent feature,” he added.

The impact in the food sales also continued from last month, with LFL sales increasing by 1.2 percent over the three months to October. On a total basis, the increase was 2.3 percent, below the 12-month total average growth of 3.5 percent.

“After a strong run earlier this year, food and grocery sales have settled into a new pattern of modest growth, broadly in line with inflation. The run up to Halloween delivered its usual boost, on a similar scale to previous years,” commented Jon Woolven, strategy and innovation director at IGD.

In-store sales of non-food items declined 2 percent on a total basis and 3.3 percent on a LFL basis, above the 12-month total average decline of 2.4 percent. Non-food retail sales decreased 1 percent on a LFL basis and increased 0.1 percent on a total basis. This above the 12-month total average decrease of 0.2 percent.

“Overall, retail sales growth remains low by historical standards. Sales in October saw only a slight uplift on the previous year, as cautious consumer spending continues into the final quarter of the year,” said Helen Dickinson, chief executive of British Retail Consortium.