The total value of sales rose by 6.6 per cent in March – the biggest upturn since April 2006 – according to the data from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG.
The figures follow positive results from john Lewis and Marks & Spencer which both saw a jump in sales.
Helen Dickinson, head of retail at KPMG, said: “The timing of the majority of Easter spending, falling into the March 2010 period but in April last year, has boosted this month's figures and makes year-on-year comparisons difficult.
“Without this uplift a gloomier picture would have emerged - concern about the future continues to weigh on consumers' minds and the outlook for spending remains uncertain.”
Meanwhile a separate survey by Deloitte found that fewer retailers fell into administration in the first three months of the year.
The financial services expert found that 44 retailers fell into administration during the period, down 65 per cent from a year ago and the lowest number in a three-month period since 2006.