Retail sales have grown for the third consecutive month with retailers expecting positive growth to continue in May, according to the CBI Distributive Trades Survey.

The survey said 43% of retailers recorded sales volumes in early April that were higher than they were over the same period last year, 30% said they were lower.

The resulting balance of 13% matched that in March and was broadly in line with expectations. A balance of 17% of retailers anticipate year-on-year growth will continue in May.

There was little change in the volume of orders placed on suppliers, up 1%, and a balance of 8% of firms expect orders to grow next month.

Footwear and household goods retailers reported the strongest sales growth in April while clothing and furniture and carpet retailers saw a far slower rate of growth.

Chairman of the CBI Distributive Trades Panel, and Chief Operating Officer of Asda, Andy Clarke said: “Spring has landed on the high street with some modest but welcome sales growth, and that improvement is expected to carry on into early May.

“Grocers and shoe shops fared reasonably well in April, and the lift in the housing market seems to have fed through to sales of white goods and furniture.”

However he warned that the UK economy remains fragile.  “Last week’s higher unemployment figures will have unsettled many shoppers,” he added.