Like-for-like non-food sales dipped by 1.2% in the three months to 27 January, according to figures from the BRC-KPMG sales monitor
This was below the 12-month total average decrease of 0.1%, the first 12-month average decrease since September 2009.
In-store like-for-like sales of non-food items declined by 3.6% in the same period.
In January, non-food online sales grew by 5.3% against a growth of 8% the year before, while UK retail sales overall increased by 0.6% on a like-for-like basis from January 2016.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “The figures paint the same old picture of divided fortunes for food and non-food sales.
Rising food prices continued to inflate sales growth and absorb the lion’s share of shoppers’ squeezed budgets, while sales of non-food items struggled in January, dragging the 12-month average into negative territory for the first time in nine years.”
Paul Martin, head of retail at KPMG, added: “There was little growth in most categories besides food. Bigger ticket items such as furniture traditionally rely on strong post-Christmas trade, but this year seem to have struggled to woo consumers with the lure of a Sale sign in the window.
“Online sales fared better, with bargain hunters most interested in fashion and tech.”