UK retail sales in November grew 1.2% on a like-for-like basis but this was driven by heavy discounting.
The British Retail Consortium said that November's growth was just above the 1% like-for-like positive performance reported in October but both months were well behind the average rate of growth for both 2006 and 2007 to date.
Like-for-like sales growth for the three months to the end of November fell to 1.8% from 2% for the three month period ended in October. Total sales fell back from 3.8% to 3.9%, reflecting the increase in retail space.
Womenswear sales are believed to have fared particularly badly during November, as shopped continued to tighten their belts amidst fears about the housing market and the recent credit crunch.
BRC director general Kevin Hawkins said: "Much of this modest growth came in the fourth week of the month thanks to an upsurge in discounting activity. This points yet again to a very price-conscious Christmas for many consumers.''