High street retailers had a month to forget in September as the UK saw huge falls in high-street spending, thanks to a perfect storm of supermarket price wars and warm weather keeping customers at bay.
Figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) show that retail spending was 0.8% down on the same month in 2013 – which was the biggest drop in more than two years since April 2012.
On a like-for-like basis, retail sales fell by 2.1%, which the BRC said was thanks to the Indian summer which has meant that consumers have not been buying up warmer clothing, as is normally the case.
October has brought cooler weather with it, and David McCorquodale, head of retail at auditors KPMG, believes that this will help sales heat up in time for Christmas.
"One warm September doesn't ruin a Christmas and retailers on the whole are on a firm footing as they enter the all-important final quarter," he said.
"The winners will be those who have invested in their systems and carefully managed their stock levels to give themselves the best shot at a successful Christmas."
Total food sales fell by 1.7% over the last three months, which was first 12 month average decline in five years.
McCorquodale continued: "The grocers had another challenging month, with further price cuts and promotions announced by most. With a rebasing of margins in the grocery sector throughout the year, this final quarter will see sales go to those who are most focussed on their customers."