London retail sales grew 5.1 per cent on a like-for-like basis in March, outperforming the UK as a whole which declined 1.2 per cent.

The British Retail Consortium-KPMG figures show like-for-likes grew 5.8 per cent in January to March, while UK like-for-likes dropped 0.7 per cent.

The BRC said comparisons were difficult because of Easter falling in April this year, instead of March like it did last year, as well as warm weather this March compared with snow and rain last March.

Footfall increased in March, compared with a slight decline in the UK as a whole.

The favourable exchange rate continues to attract tourists, especially from western Europe. However, although visitor numbers held up, they were tending to spend less.

The warm weather helped clothing, footwear and outdoor leisure but homewares and furniture sales remained “tough”.

BRC director-general Stephen Robertson said: “London retailers outperformed their UK counterparts by a wide margin. Although March didn’t include Easter this year, it did benefit from warm sunny weather compared  with last year’s snow and rain. Clothing and footwear sales were boosted by the better weather. But homewares and furniture sales struggled as customers remained cautious about making expensive purchases.

“Overseas visitors provided a boost to London sales, attracted by the favourable exchange rates. Consumer confidence in the capital also held up better than the rest of the UK.”