Retail sales sank by 0.4 percent in November from the October level as heavy discounting failed to boost poor consumer sentiment, official data showed on Thursday.
Market expectations had been for a smaller drop of 0.2 percent, according to analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.
“Today’s official figures confirm that November was a bad month for retailers and will raise concerns that spending will be soft over the crucial festive period,” said Capital Economics analyst Samuel Tombs.
“What’s more, the drop in sales volumes may have been greater had retailers not resorted to another month of discounting.”
Retail sales meanwhile jumped by 0.7 percent in November compared with the same month in 2010, the ONS added. Analysts had expected a 0.4-percent gain.