A strong start to April saw year-on-year sales increase for the fifth consecutive month as confidence grows among retailers, the CBI reported.

Out of 131 retail companies surveyed, 42% reported an increase in sales in the first two weeks of April, compared to 12% that said sales were down. The positive balance of 30% was a big jump up from March’s figure of 13%, according to the CBI’s Distributive Trades Survey.

The strongest sector performance in April was in footwear and leather sales, where a balance of 81% of retailers reported a sales rise compared to a year ago. Grocers also enjoyed an uplift, with a balance of 60% of supermarket chains reporting sales growth, far outstripping last month’s 20%.

Retailer confidence has been at its highest point this month since December 2010, with 48% of the retailers surveyed saying they expected a big jump up in sales next month compared to 5% who said they expected sales to be lower.

Commenting on the figures, Barclays head of retail and wholesale Richard Lowe said: “The fifth consecutive monthly increase in year on year sales growth is welcome news, particularly as the time period is being compared to 2013’s earlier Easter weekend. Economic indicators remain positive, including recent reports that wage growth is overtaking inflation.

“Retailers will now be hoping that this news will continue to bolster consumer confidence as the year progresses, although sales growth is likely to be slow and steady.”