UK retail sales were up 0.7% on a like-for-like basis from September 2012, according to the British Retail Consortium.

Published in the Retail Sales Monitor, on a total basis, sales were up 2.4%, against a 3.4% increase in September 2012.

The Monitor reported that food experienced a decline in like-for-like sales.

Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium, said: “The BRC-KPMG data shows that while total retail sales have continued to grow this month, it has been the weakest growth so far this year if you exclude Easter distortions. Grocery sales have been particularly hard-hit.

“Retailers are hiring extra staff and readying their offer for the crucial Christmas period at the moment, so they will be looking at these figures closely as they gear up for the festive season.”

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said that the figures will act as a “reality check” for retailers.

“The slowdown in food and drink sales performance reflects the battleground for market share among the grocers,” added McCorquodale. “The stark fact is the retail recovery remains fragile and in the lead-up to Christmas, retailers, which are generally carrying less stock than in prior years, will need to manage promotional activity carefully to maintain margins.”