Halloween helped retail sales stage a modest recovery in October, according to the BRC and KPMG’s Retail Sales Monitor.

Total retail sales rose 1.4% during the month, versus a 0.8% drop in September. On a like-for-like basis, sales were flat, against a fall of 2.1% in September.

“Retailers preparation around stocking items required for Halloween celebrations such as costumes of characters from animation feature films for children, meant a significant year on year increase in Halloween related sales,” said BRC director general Helen Dickinson.

However, food was described as the worst performing sector – with sales falling 1.4% in the past three months and by 0.4% in the past 12 months. In contrast, non-food sales grew 2.8% in the three-month period and by 3.7% in the 12-month period.

“Looking at these figures, most retailers will feel they were tricked rather than treated in October,” added David McCorquodale, head of retail at  KPMG.

“Even the most experienced of shopkeepers could not have foreseen a heat wave at Halloween and most were left with sales which were flat at best.

“Promotions remained rife in the grocery sector, leaving it with the unenviable moniker of the worst performing sector. The silver lining for the sector is that the 3 month average like-for-likes, whilst still negative, were not as bad as in September which will be welcome relief in the midst of negative news,” McCorquodale added.