Food sales comfortably outperformed the rest of UK retail over the past three months, figures from the British Retail Consortium show.

On a like-for-like basis, food sales between August and October were up by 1.8% over the equivalent term last year – and up 4.9% overall. By contrast, like-for-like sales across the rest of the high street were down 1.8% compared to August and October 2010.

“The beginning of October continued with the trend we saw at the end of September: the warm weather helped to boost food sales to the detriment of clothing and other non-food sectors,” said KPMG head of retail Helen Dickinson.

“By the end of the month the gap narrowed, food growth slowed and non-food retrieved some of the momentum lost over the previous few weeks.”

Joanne Denney-Finch of the IGD added: “The constant trickle of negative economic news, such as the euro crisis, has not helped to improve consumer sentiment.

“Shoppers are watching every pound they spend and, with thoughts turning to Christmas, they may be making some sacrifices now in order to end the year on a high. Our latest ShopperTrack research shows 61% of shoppers intend to spend more or the same as last year on food and drink over the festive period.”

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