Britain's retail sales increased at their fastest pace in 18 months in October, official data revealed Monday.

Figures compiled by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) showed 56 per cent of retailers reported better trade last month, while 21 per cent said it was down, resulting in a balance of 35 per cent.

"With rising house prices, low unemployment and consumers happy to borrow at record levels, retailers believe this stronger growth will persist," commented Ian McCafferty, CBI chief economic adviser.

"After the knocks from tax rises and the Iraq war earlier in the year, this revival in consumer confidence is good news for the wider economy."