The second successive fall in monthly retail sales cannot be directly attributed to the measures unveiled in Wednesday's spending review, since the data is for September.
Still, the precipitous fall-off in consumer confidence we have seen since the Chancellor's emergency Budget in June provides the biggest clue as to why spending is falling: people are spooked by the prospect of the austerity ahead.
Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, who has been a cheerleader for early and tough action against the deficit, has also made it clear that the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) stands ready to intervene if it looks as if fiscal policy is jeopardising Britain's economic recovery.
So far, the MPC remains split - seven members voted for no change to interest rates or quantitative easing last month, while Adam Posen and Andrew Sentance, respectively, backed a softening and hardening of policy. The minutes of the MPC meeting that reveal this voting pattern make interesting reading. They show that one of the most important considerations in more members of the committee not joining Mr Posen in calling for a renewal of quantitative easing (QE) was that consumers are proving more resilient than had been expected.
That resilience now looks to be cracking by the day. The latest fall in high street sales reflects what retailers have been saying for some time: it is getting harder to persuade shoppers to part with their money and the outlook for the next 12 months is poor.