Christmas has come early for grocers as a 0.6 per cent rise in food sales kept them above the September sales dip.
It comes despite the 1.7 per cent increase in food prices.
Retail sales fell by 0.2 per cent last month, although this is still 4.2 per cent higher than pre-Covid levels in February 2020.
Household goods shops were hit hard as purchases plummeted by 9.3 per cent.
Earlier this week, NielsenIQ head Mike Watkins suggested that food sales had been boosted by fears of Christmas food shortages.
“Should some shoppers choose to forward purchase seasonal food and drink… this may be enough to help keep growth positive,” he said.
Aldi, for example, is reportedly selling turkey crowns at four times its usual rate for this time of year.
Other businesses do not seem to be enjoying an early Christmas boost.
British Retail Consortium boss Helen Dickinson said shop owners would be “concerned” by slumping sales during the “golden quarter”.
“For the sake of the UK’s economic recovery, it is vital that retail sales bounce back as we near the festive season,” she continued.
Despite the lifting of lockdown in July, online sales climbed from 27.9 per cent to 28.1 per cent.
This could have been bolstered by petrol shortages in London and the South East, which also likely prompted the 1.8 per cent fuel sales rise.