High street sales fell for the seventh consecutive month in October according to the latest Distributive Trades Survey from the CBI.
Some 50% of retailers said that the volume of sales in the first half of October were down on last year. 23% of retailers said the volume of sales were up.
The balance of -27% matches September's rate of sales falls.
Similarly the CBI said retailers did not expect sales to improve in November, with a balance of 25% expecting sales to fall on last year.
However, there was one bright spot in the results, with footwear and leather sales reporting an increase in sales over the first half of October.
Suppliers continued to be hit by weak demand in the shops. 36% of retailers reported a year-on-year fall in the volume of orders placed with suppliers.
Andy Clarke, chairman of the CBI Distributive Trades Panel and retail director of Asda said: "Shoppers face competing pressures on their wallets and are spooked by worries over job losses and the slowing economy."
"Retailers have had another tough month and, while there are some winners, the majority are suffering. The sector looks set to endure a very challenging run-up to Christmas."
"We are hoping the recent drop in interest rates will cut consumers and business some slack as it feeds through to the wider economy."