UK retail sales had their best month since January 2008 in September - but the good news has drawn a cautious reaction from experts.

According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, total UK retail sales in September were 4.9% higher than a year ago, representing the best performance since January 2008.

Like-for-like sales were up 2.8%, compared to a 1.5% decline in September 2008. Total sales in September 2008 were up by 1%.

However, BRC director general Stephen Robertson pointed out that the results were compared to a very weak performance in September last year, thanks to fast-declining consumer confidence and wet weather.

This year's figures also included the August Bank Holiday Sunday and Monday.

"For some customers confidence is trickling back," Robertson added. "But we mustn't get carried away…As we enter the important run-up to Christmas, these results give some room for optimism.

"But consumer sentiment is volatile and could weaken again and, throughout the final quarter, all the comparisons will be with poor figures last year, when total sales growth dropped below zero."

Helen Dickinson, head of retail at KPMG, said the pick-up in sales figures was stronger than expected, although there was no clear sign of underlying strength in consumer spending.

"Sunny autumn weather and signs of a less gloomy economic outlook have boosted non-food sales, particularly in children's clothing and footwear, and furniture and flooring," she added.