Sales volumes look set to set to grow slightly in the year to October despite "dented" consumer confidence since earlier this year, according to the CBI Distributive Trades Survey.
The poll of 120 firms, of which 63 were retailers, showed that lower sales at grocers, specialist food and drink and footwear and leather stores were the main drivers of the drop in overall volumes.
The volume of orders placed upon suppliers fell for a sixth consecutive month, disappointing expectations of a rebound.
Growth in internet sales slowed further in the year to September, although this is expected to pick up in October.
CBI chief economist Rain Newton-Smith said: "September is normally an important month for retailers and it's encouraging to see that sales of clothing, DIY goods and hardware are above seasonal norms.
"However, consumer confidence has been dented since earlier in 2016 and higher inflation is likely to squeeze household incomes over the year ahead.
"With margins remaining tight, retailers are set to continue to operate in a fiercely competitive environment for some time."