The British Retail Consortium has claimed consumer confidence is returning to the high street, as retail sales rose 2.8% in September on a like-for-like basis.

Total sales rose 4.9% last month, against a 1% gain in September 2008.

“For some customers, confidence is trickling back,” said BRC director general Stephen Robertson. “These are the best total sales growth figures since January 2008 but we mustn’t get carried away. They are compared with a weak performance last September.”

He added: “As we enter the important run-up to Christmas these results give some room for optimism.”