Sales from food stores fell slightly in October, despite suggestions that early Christmas shopping would prop up demand.
However the dip could be partly explained by the supply chain’s “ongoing challenges”.
ONS data shows sales volumes nudged down 0.3 per cent since September, but were 3.4 per cent above pre-pandemic levels in February 2020.
Online demand took a heavy hit as customers headed into shops for their turkeys and mince pies.
Slumping 1.8 per cent, this fell three times faster than the average online sales.
British Retail Consortium boss Helen Dickinson said that businesses had made a “gargantuan effort” to maintain stocks of Christmas food.
However, she claimed that labour shortages had created “some gaps on the shelves”.
Non-food sales were up 4.2 per cent since September on the back of increasing demand for toys, clothing, sports equipment and second-hand goods.
ONS chief economist Grant Fitzner said that some retailers believed an early festive boost had “helped to bolster trade”.