Responding to the latest ONS Retail Sales Index figures, Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: 

“With consumer confidence weakening due to higher mortgage and rental costs, sales growth in October slowed. More expensive purchases, such as laptops and electrical appliances continued to not perform well and Christmas spend took off to a slower start as households held out for Black Friday bargains. Meanwhile, cosmetics and toiletries had another strong month, due to the “Lipstick Effect”- where the high cost of living meant people spent more on smaller indulgences.

“Retailers are committed to delivering an affordable and festive Christmas for their customers, and are continuing to invest in lowering prices. But, their efforts are put at risk by the £480m-a-year increase to business rates from April 2024. The Chancellor must prioritise freezing rates in the Autumn Statement next week, or else this added cost pressure will likely push up prices for hard-pressed households.”