Families are still splashing out on the weekly food shop but increasingly headed online for other goods during February, leaving slim pickings for the rest of the high street.
The CBI's latest distributive trades survey showed a 2 per cent balance of retailers reporting declining sales volumes in the first two weeks of the month, but fortunes were mixed.
Grocers and non-store retailers were by far the strongest performers, but clothing shops had their worst month since March 2009, while household goods, hardware and DIY sales remain becalmed in the doldrums
Judith McKenna, the chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Panel and Asda's chief operating officer, said: "Consumers are clearly continuing to focus their spending on day-to-day needs, rather than big-ticket or luxury items.
"With disposable incomes under constant pressure, retailers remain concerned about the general business outlook for the rest of 2012," she added.
In a separate report, Tesco registered its lowest market share since May 2005, at 29.7 per cent for the 12 weeks to 19 February, according to Kantar Worldpanel.Reuse content