By politics.co.uk staff
Consumer morale in July fell as low as May 2009, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
The group reported a 0.5% rise in retail sales in July, compared to 1.2% in June.
Building society Nationwide came to similar conclusions, with consumer confidence falling from 63 in June to 56 in July, according to its indicator.
The drop was probably due to a sharp fall in household sentiment about the economy, the job market and expected income over the next year.
Many analysts believe the government's deficit reduction, which will start with a bang when the spending review is published later this year, is subduing spending as consumers take stock of how they will be affected.