That fall was driven largely by a decline in non-food sales.
The data, which were published at one minute after midnight, helped push the British pound down to $1.3000.
United Kingdom retailers endured a "meagre month" of sales in October, with non-food retailers having the worst sales for at least six years.
On a total basis, sales rose 0.2%, against a growth of 2.4% in October 2016 - the lowest growth since May, and below the 3-month and 12-month averages of 1.7% and 1.5% respectively. Online saw the lowest growth since these records began in December 2012, yet online penetration rate increased from 22.6% in October 2016 to 23.7% in October 2017, the highest penetration rate since December 2016.
In-store non-food total sales also dropped 2.2 per cent alongside a 2.9 per cent on a like-for-like basis.
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Retail sales values slid by an annual 1.0 percent on a like-for-like basis, which strips out changes in store size, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said, compared with a 1.9 percent rise in September. With total growth at its lowest since May and below the 12-month average, retailers will have cause for concern as they prepare for the crucial run up to Christmas.
"Real consumer spending power has been on a downward trend in the past year as the acceleration in inflation has caused shoppers to become ever more cautious in considering what purchases they can afford", Dickinson added.
Last week, the Bank of England raised interest rates for the first time in more than 10 years.Most economists polled by Reuters before the decision thought a hike would be a mistake in part because of the fragile state of consumer finances, pressured by the rise in inflation since last year's Brexit vote. "The Autumn Budget also nears, and retailers will most likely be hoping for some form of relief, particularly after the challenges business rates created".
Commenting on the figures, Richard Lim, chief executive of economics consultancy Retail Economics said: "Retail sales slowed sharply in October as shoppers cut back spending on non-essentials, especially within apparel".
"With real earnings expected to remain in negative territory until the middle of next year, the trading environment for retailers in the coming months is expected to be very challenging".
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