Shoppers have continued to fork out on essentials such as food and petrol and there has been a spike in spending on products for the home. But spending on clothes and big ticket items has stayed sluggish.
“Households are still cautious and not making big ticket purchases at the moment, so we’ll be watching the next few months closely to see if things pick up in the run-up to Christmas,” said Sarah Quinlan, group head and senior vice-president at MasterCard Advisors.
September was a particularly “challenging” month for fashion retailers and like-for-like sales fell 2.1pc as the weather dampened appetite for autumn and winter collections, according to BDO.
Sales of homewares jumped 12.8pc off a low base as the recent pick-up in the property market encouraged Britons to invest in their houses.
Non-store sales online and through devices such as smartphones were up 23.7pc on a like-for-like basis in September, according to the BDO tracker. Although this is slightly shy of the stratospheric growth rates retail analysts have come to expect, separate research shows that mobile phones are helping to boost sales through stores.
Mobiles are expected to influence some £18 billion of store sales in the UK this year, according to Deloitte, as consumers increasingly use their smartphones as a “shop window”.
Although only £5bn of sales are likely to be made directly on mobile devices, shoppers who use their phones to look up items before or during their shopping trip are more likely to make a purchase, Deloitte claims.