Retailers are coming under increasing pressure to boost sales in the traditionally lucrative final quarter and have turned to discounting to lure customers struggling with living costs rising faster than wages.
Excluding fuel, the ONS says sales fell 0.7% on the previous month.
The figures reveal that customers particularly cut back on buying computers, mobile phones, watches and jewellery particularly.
The dip in November follows a surprisingly robust August, September and October. The ONS has revised up figures for the quarter to 30 September and now says that sales rose 0.7% in the period, the strongest three monthly rise since the quarter to August 2010.
The ONS data chimes with last week’s British Retail Consortium figures that showed like-for-like sales down 1.6% year on year in November.