Figures released today (November 20) by the Office of National Statistics show improved year-on-year sales in the retail sector.
The ONS figures make positive reading for the trade showing October's total sales values were up 3.2% on a year ago while total sales growth increased from 3% in September.
But, their figures for non-food sales showed a fall of 1.1% with sales of household goods also down 1.5%.
Its report came in stark contrast to the industry who had expected the ONS to back reports showing retail sales plummeting.
Numbers released by the British Retail Consortium's showed a 0.1% fall over the same period, while growth has been slowing since May.
Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, said: "These unexpectedly strong ONS figures suggest sales growth increasing in stark contrast to our own, while the boss of a leading retailer told me things haven't been this bad since the early 1990s."
Financial firm Credit Suisse were also dismissive of the figures stating 'a variety of sources' had said November is a more difficult month for non-food retailers who are resorting to defensive actions to keep their stocks clean in the run-up to Christmas.
The company also suggested a sale boost in the run up to Christmas would not be enough 'to save the day for the first year in recent memory'.