The tentative recovery of UK retail has been all but reversed.

Retail sales fell at their fastest pace in four months in October as fears grow of further Covid restrictions.

The CBI’s latest monthly distributive trades survey fell from 11% to -23% in October. A poll of economists had been expecting a reading of +1%.

Just over a third of respondents said that sales were up, more than offset by the 59% who reported a slump.

A survey by the market research firm GfK reported a relapse in consumer confidence in October, while the latest data from the consultancy Springboard revealed shopper footfall across high streets and shopping centres fell 3.1% in the week to 17 October – a fourth successive decline.