Here's a classic press error which is not in the original Press Association story, so might be the Independent's fault. Retail sales are NOT at their 'lowest level since early 2006'. The rate of growth has fallen to its lowest level since 2006. In fact retail sales in September were 140.4, compared to a peak monthly level (on a seasonally adjusted basis) of 133.3 in 2006. That means they were 5.3% higher than the highest point in 2006.