Consumer confidence improved in April to levels not seen for more than a year.

Confidence in the general economic situation over the next 12 months reached an index level of -15, which was a 16-point improvement on the previous month and the strongest showing since August 2007 research carried out by GfK NOP for the European Commission showed.

Consumers were also more confident about their own personal finances over the next year and the overall index of confidence improved by three points month-on-month in April to stand at -27.

GfK NOP consumer confidence team member Rachael Joy noted the April index total was still “historically low” but said: “Significantly, this is now the third consecutive month that we have seen a rise in index – suggesting a definite upward trend – and that’s largely driven by the public’s perception that the next 12 months will be better.

“This could be down to a simple belief that things are improving, as well as the feel-good factor of improving weather following the Easter bank holiday.

“It is worth noting that fieldwork this month was carried out before the Budget announcement, so we’re interested to see how next month’s results are affected by that.”

The findings came as Marks & Spencer boss Sir Stuart Rose said there are signs of economic stability.

Yesterday, Rose told the Institute of Directors’ annual convention it was too early to talk about “green shoots” but observed: “Since Christmas I think generally we’ve seen a bit more stability coming through into the markets, which is obviously very helpful.”

He believed there were signs of improving consumer confidence and said: “The fact of the matter is that people are fed up with being fed up.”