Retail sales grew last month at their fastest rate since April – as the non-food sector outperformed the grocery trade for the second month running.

Like-for-like sales rose 3.8% in October compared with a year ago – the biggest uplift since April – according to the latest Nielsen Consumer Confidence Survey. For the second month in a row, however, non-food sales outperformed food with a year on year gain of 18%.

“This latest poll shows that the confidence of the nation continues to improve, though consumers remain very guarded and we are still a long way from the confidence levels we saw prior to the economic meltdown," said Nielsen managing director Justin Sargent.

However, the British Retail Consortium pointed out that last year’s figure was distorted by the collapse of Lehman Brothers the month before.

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Consumer confidence on the up, claims BRC (13 October 2009)