Weakening consumer confidence has been laid bare as figures revealed a much worse than expected October for retailers.
Retail sales volumes dropped 0.8% month-on-month in October, in contrast to a 0.6% boost the previous month, as consumers tightened their spending.
The drop, announced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), was much more pronounced than the 0.2% fall predicted by experts.
The boost from shoppers buying warmer clothing and back-to-school attire which helped increase September figures proved short-lived, as clothes and shoes volumes fell 2.3%.
The latest gloomy update comes after a challenging year for the retail sector which has seen a number of high-profile brands go into administration, most recently electricals chain Comet.