UK retail sales in October advanced 7.1 per cent on the same month last year as the onset of colder weather boosted sales of knitwear, coats and boots.

The latest industry survey from the British Retail Consortium showed October's retail sales growth was faster than the 6.3 per cent recorded in September. And in shops open more than a year sales increased 4 per cent, compared with 3.4 per cent in September.

Strong household spending is being underpinned by low unemployment and low borrowing rates. Consumers borrowed £741 million on credit cards in September, the central bank said last month.

Sales growth in the three months to October accelerated to 6.9 per cent from 6.8 per cent in the quarter to September, the BRC said.