Like-for-like retail sales rose just 1.2% year-on-year in November, according to British Retail Consortium figures. Total sales rose 3.1%.

“This result was not unexpected, given that November is traditionally a quiet month for sales and that many consumers are feeling apprehensive about next year,” said Kevin Hawkins, Director General, BRC.

“Much of this modest growth, however, 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.”

Commenting on food and drink sector performance, IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch said: “Christmas promotions will be of key strategic importance. Already we have seen some strong offers but the decisive competitive factor will be the ability of retailers to execute these in stores over the next three weeks”.