Retail sales in the UK were up 5.4% in January, the strongest increase since March 2010, and rose 3.9% on a like-for-like basis. 

According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), the three-month average growth figure was 3.2%, broadly in line with the 12-month trend figure of 3%.

BRC senior analyst Anne Alexandre said “a lot of good deals” had driven footfall to clothing stores, with shoppers also buying into new ranges at full price.

“In general, there was a strong sales performance across the three segments, but that was also flattered by an easy comparative in 2013, when the snow had kept people indoors,” she added.

“There was good demand for blouses, nightwear and for women’s accessories rather than for heavy coats.”

Meanwhile, footwear sales were “very strong”, despite January being the wettest and mildest for over a century, with continuing good demand for boots as well as slippers.

“Customers responded enthusiastically to a range of sales and promotions on non-food items this January,” said BRC director general Helen Dickinson.

“Retailers succeeded in tempting shoppers in with promotions, they also saw strong demand across new ranges, helped by improvements in consumer confidence.”