UK retailers endured their worst September on record, according to one survey Monday (October 7).
The British Retail Consortium says total sales fell 1.3% last month compared with a year ago.
While average growth over the past year slowed to just 0.2% - the worst figure since the BRC started compiling figures in 1995.
Spending on non-food items was badly hit, while spending on essentials was actually up.
The BRC said the political gridlock over Brexit was one factor hurting shops and shoppers.
There was a more nuanced outlook from another Monday survey though.
Payment card company Barclaycard said broader consumer spending was up 1.6% in September.
But the gain was driven by people doing stuff, not buying stuff.
Expenditure on cinema, sports and theater tickets all sharply up.
There was strong growth too in digital services like Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime.
Britons perhaps willing to pay for something fun to take their minds off the Brexit turmoil.