Retail sales values, excluding fuel, jumped 3.9% year-on-year in May as Brits prepared to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Values were also up 1% on April over the month.
Sales volumes jumped 2.4% year-on-year, and edged up 1.4% against April.
Food store values rose 4.1% year-on-year, or 1% in volume while non-food stores sales values experienced a 9.3% increase.
Barclays head of retail and wholesale Richard Lowe said: “The high street celebrated as Britain brought out the bunting last month and sales of food, booze and Union Jacks climbed in the run up to the Jubilee.”
Clothing and footwear sales edged up 0.7% year-on-year however volumes fell 1%.
British Retail Consortium director general Stephen Robertson said the first glimpse of sun over the month enticed shoppers to store. He said: “The seemingly shy sunshine, hardly seen since March, had created pent-up demand for summer goods which was finally unleashed.
“Modest sales of coats and carpets gave way to much better sales of T-shirts and barbecues as interest finally turned outdoors.
Store price inflation slowed to 0.9%, its lowest annual rate since October 2009.
Non-store retailers leaped 13.5% in value, and 14.9% in volume. The average weekly value for online sales in May was £510.9m, or 8.8% of overall retail sales.