UK retailers have enjoyed their first same-store sales growth since March, with colder weather driving up clothing and footwear sales, according to a report by the British Retail Consortium.

November retail sales were up 0.8% on a same-store basis from November 2004, when sales dropped 0.2%.Net sales rose 4.6%.

The late arrival of cold weather combined with widespread promotions and sales days to boost sales of clothing after several months of sales decreases.

Winter coats, knitwear and warm accessories all benefited from plunging temperatures, with younger fashions continuing to outstrip older classic ranges.

Shoe sales also posted a small increase following a string of sales slumps. Women's and children's footwear sales outperformed men's, which fell back again after a better start to the month.

However, many of the sales were driven by discounts and promotions, which hit margins.

BRC director general Kevin Hawkins said: "While the growth in November was against a weak comparison in November 2004, it is better than many had expected and the lift out of negative territory is encouraging in itself.
 
"However, with customers still extremely value-conscious, reliance on discounting is still a key driver for many stores".

Helen Dickinson, Head of Retail, KPMG said: "November's figures represent the second strongest month in the year to date and take the like-for-like statistics back into positive territory for the first time in seven months. 

"While they are on the back of weak comparatives, there is no doubt that many retailers will have breathed a quiet sigh of relief.  Whether this represents further evidence that the worst of the slowdown has passed its worst or is a temporary blip driven by the appearance of the sun and the cold winter weather remains to be seen."