Retail sales in London improved in May rising 11.6% on a like-for-like basis as tourists came back to the capital following the easing of the volcanic ash cloud disruption, the British Retail Consortium-KPMG London Retail Sales Monitor found.

Footfall picked up in May after a year-on-year decline in April with special sales events and discounts tempting out shoppers.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: “This is a healthier performance. London retail sales bounced back sharply after April’s slowdown.

“The return of overseas visitors, after the previous month’s flight disruption, along with improving consumer confidence and sunnier weather, produced the strongest London sales growth since December.”

He added: “There were more tourists and, on average, each spent more. Consumer confidence was less negative in the capital than in previous months and than the rest of the UK. Widespread discounts and promotions encouraged spending, especially when they coincided with sunnier weather. The comparison with weak results last year also helped.”

The weakness of the pound has also continued to draw overseas visitors particularly from western Europe, China and the Middle East.

Food sales in London picked up in May with non-food sales helped by promotions and warmer weather, particularly for clothing, outdoor leisure and DIY.