Shop owners are crossing their fingers for Halloween and Bonfire Night celebrations with “lots of food and drink” as their sales flatlined.
Although September is normally a strong month for retailers, food and drink sales nudged up by just 0.26 per cent.
It comes after a separate study showed supermarket visits had toppled to a seven-month low amid petrol shortages.
“Growth in food and drink sales was muted,” KPMG head of retail Paul Martin said.
“Grocers will be hoping that with Halloween and Bonfire Night falling over weekends, consumers will be planning gatherings involving lots of food and drink to help boost sales.”
However, some customers seem to have gone straight to festive shopping instead.
According to Aldi, sales of turkey crowns and Christmas puddings are dramatically above last year’s levels.
“Consumers are expected to start shopping earlier to bag those items already being reported as potentially out of stock by December,” Martin noted.
“Successful retailers will have to work very hard to ensure the right availability of the right product at the right price.”
The spectre of inflation has hit consumer confidence, with IGD data showing that 85 per cent of shoppers expect food and grocery prices to rise.
Prices leapt by 1.7 per cent in September, an average increase of £5.94 per household.
There was one silver lining for retailers, as clothes and shoe sales soared for people returning to the office for the first time in 18 months.
High street sales fell back across every category except apparel and beauty.