Retail sales continued to fall in November despite "panic" levels of discounting on the high street, a monthly survey has found, spelling more gloom for the sector.
BDO's High Street Sales Tracker saw like-for-like sales fall 1.7 per cent last month, as unseasonably warm weather hit fashion sales, which dropped 1 per cent.
Non-fashion slumped 3.1 per cent and homewares was down 2.6 per cent.
BDO said the drop in sales came despite heavy promotion activity to pull in cash-strapped consumers, which is on a par with "panic sales" of 2008 and is expected to hit retailers' profit margins.
Don Williams, national head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said: "Throughout 2011 we've seen the high street polarising between high performers and strugglers.
"The former are surviving despite the tough climate, but the latter have found failing to offer consumers high levels of service and innovative, new products at the right prices is a quick route to very quiet tills."