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Retail sales drop less than expected

Sales on the UK high streets fell by 0.1% in October, lower than the expected 0.9% which analysts predicted.

The figures come from the Office for National Statistics. The decline was much less than the 0.4% in September.

Retail sales grew at an annual rate of 1.9% compared with 1.7% in September.

Food sales rose 1% in October, but non-food sales fell 1.1%. Sales of household goods were down 1.5% and clothing sales fell 3.4%.

Economic analysts said the drop in non-food sales suggests that discretionary spending is still taking a hit.

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