The bank holiday boosted sales for retailers, with total sales up 1.5 per cent on a like-for-like basis in the week to May 3.

Non-fashion retailers had a strong week, with sales ahead 3.3 per cent. Luxury and leisure retailers enjoyed a particularly good week of trading, according to BDO Stoy Hayward’s High Street Sales Tracker. 

Homewares continued to fall despite large-scale promotions, falling 9.8 per cent like-for-like. Fashion was just ahead, up 0.9 per cen, with demand down from the previous week.

BDO head of retail Rupert Eastell said: “The May Day holiday weekend proved to be reasonably successful for mid-market retailers, with demand holding up in many areas despite the poor economic conditions.”

However, he pointed out that demand for big-ticket items remained low. “It would seem that while consumers are reasonably comfortable buying lower-priced discretionary goods, they are continuing to avoid larger purchases linked to the home,” said Eastell.