BDO's High Street Sales Tracker figures for October have shown like for like spending dropping at non grocery retailers by 3.1 per cent year on year.
Like for like fashion sales were down 3.1 per cent, non fashion sales fell 3.3 per cent and homewares dipped 0.6 per cent year on year.
However, there was 20.7 per cent growth in non store sales.
"Despite the unremitting flow of bleak news, the non store sales show consumers' underlying desire to spend is still there," said Don Williams, national head of retail and wholesale at BDO. "At the moment there aren't many reason to shop, but retailers must continue to work hard to provide those reasons by offering 'too good to miss' deals and great service.
"Christmas has not been cancelled in two thousand and ten years, and there are no indications it will be this year; kids will be getting presents this year and that means parents will hit the shops at some point.
"Rather than slapping the 'sale' sign on everything, our best retailers continue to plan a series of regular discounts that will get people over the threshold without eating into margins too much."