High street sales fell 0.1 per cent in October from the previous month, pushing annual growth down to 1.9 per cent.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the volume of sales in the three months from August to October was unchanged from the previous three months as the global financial crisis hit consumer confidence.
Growth was down 0.7 per cent for food stores from the summer and unchanged from a year ago as food and fuel price rises take their toll on consumers' budgets.
The figures show the UK is embracing a 'make do and mend' attitude; sales in the repair sector are up 14.7 per cent on a year ago.
Stores are now stepping up to bring shoppers back out for Christmas.
Today Marks & Spencer is running a 20 per cent discount day with some stores running open up to midnight.
Dorothy Perkins, Wallis, and Burtons, all part of the Arcadia Group, are holding a three-day 25 per cent discount event, along with Debenhams.