August UK retail sales jumped 1.8% on a like-for-like basis against last year when it slipped 0.4%, indicating continuing positive consumer sentiment.

On a total basis, retail sales increased 3.6% against a 1.6% rise in June, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Retail Sales Monitor.

Across the three month average, non-food sales were up 2.1% but food sales did not do so well and on a like-for-like basis increased 1.4% due to tough comparatives from the Olympics last year.

Online non-food sales surged 15%, recording its best performance this year, showing a recovery from last year’s all-time low growth of just 4.8%.

BRC director-general Helen Dickinson said: “While these figures don’t quite reach the lofty heights of what was an exceptional July, they’re keeping the good run going and are well above the 12-month average for sales growth.

“Taken hand in hand with a recent uptick in consumer confidence, the signs are that many of us are feeling a little more positive about the economic outlook and responding well to good deals and new autumn collections alike.

She added: “Overall, these are very encouraging figures, which maintain the sense that a consumer-led recovery is tentatively taking shape.”

Retail sales growth was driven across the board with the home categories the best performer. Non-food retailers continued to offer promotions and their back-to-school ranges sold well.

KPMG head of retail David McCorquodale said: “After suffering from some of the worst sales on record last year, furniture and flooring sales rebounded this month.

“It’s a positive sign that consumers feel confident enough about the future to make large scale, non-essential investments in their homes. Whether or not these investments are being powered by finance or consumers dipping into their savings remains to be seen - a debt or savings-fuelled spending bubble, of course, would not be sustainable in the long term.”

Conlumino managing director Neil Saunders said: “There is a good level of underlying momentum in the retail sector and that it is now in a period of sustained recovery which is likely to continue up until Christmas and perhaps beyond.”