By Daniel Hunter
The UK economic recovery is "bypassing the retail sector", according to the British Retail Consortium and accountants KPMG.
The report found that like-for-like sales between December and February were down 0.1% compared with the same period a year earlier.
But there are signs that the sector is split, with food sales down 1.6% and non-food sales up 1.2%.
"It seems that overall the wider economic recovery is bypassing the retail sector," says KPMG's head of retail David McCorquodale.
"With interest rates and inflation remaining low,FIFA Ultimate Team Coins it's surprising more consumers aren't treating themselves.
"[But] one suspects that restaurateurs, not retailers, are benefitting from the extra cash in consumers' pockets resulting from fuel price savings," he said.
Despite the fall in food sales, closely watched figures from supermarket researcher Kantar Worldpanel showed that food prices fell by 1.6%, the biggest decline on record.