The figures, to be released later this week by the British Retail Consortium, and KPMG, will be a boon for a sector that has been decimated by the downturn. A separate set of figures from accountancy firm BDO, will show a rise of more than eight per cent, excluding food sales. The results are in stark contrast to last March, when sales fell by more than one per cent.
The figures have been hoisted upwards by strong performances by high street stalwarts including Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and House of Fraser. John Lewis sales are up an astonishing 30 per cent year on year.
Analysts were cautiously optimistic but warned post election tax-hikes could yet derail the tentative recovery.