Retail sales rose strongly in September notching up their fastest pace since June 2012, according to the CBI’s latest monthly Distributive Trades Survey.

The survey of 111 firms revealed 46% of respondents reported that sales volumes were up on a year ago, while 12% said they were down.

The result represents the third consecutive month of growth and retail sales are expected to grow strongly again in October.

The greatest number of furniture and carpet retailers since August 1996 said volumes were up last month.

Department stores also enjoyed a strong month with 52% of stores stating volumes were up, while no retailers said volumes were down.

Half of grocers surveyed said sales volumes were up while 17% said they were down.

Asda chief merchandising officer for food and CBI chair Barry Williams said: “It’s encouraging to see the high street on the road to recovery, with particularly strong growth from furniture and carpet retailers, department stores and recreational goods retailers.

“But the retail sector is not out of the woods yet with consumer confidence still fragile despite the rise in spending.”