UK fashion sales fell by 1.1% in March, making this the only retail sector to see sales slow during the month according to new figures released today (3 April).

The good news was that fine weather helped to drive demand for seasonal spring fashion and footwear, says the latest edition of the BDO Stoy Hayward High Street Sales Tracker, although this was offset by weaker sales of formalwear, accessories and lingerie.

In contrast, UK like-for-like sales rose by 1.3% in March, making this the third time in the last 12 months when sales have entered positive territory.

"Underlying demand was much higher than we expected, and sales appear to have been bolstered by the driest March weather for six years," said Rupert Eastell, head of retail, at BDO Stoy Hayward.

But while it is too early to point to the first signs of a recovery, he says, "there are signs that demand is holding up and not contracting as sharply as we feared last month."

Non-fashion sales rose by 6.3% and homeware sales were up 5.7% - the first increase since June 2008.