Hopes of an economic recovery are growing after retail sales showed a 2.9% volume increase in June against the same month last year.

Total volume sales across retail for the three months to June were also up 1.3% compared to 2008, new figures from the Office for National Statistics show. Food retailers recorded 0.7% growth.

Food store sales also increased 1.3% during the period compared to the first three months of this year.

Sales at non-specialised non-food stores saw the most dramatic upturn in fortunes, with a 4.6% rise for the three-month period. 

Economists, however, have stopped short of proclaiming an end to the tough retail environment. “Sharply reduced mortgage payments and moderating inflation are boosting many people’s purchasing power, making them more able and willing to step up their discretionary spending when circumstances are particularly attractive, such as when the weather is hot or there is increased discounting,” Global Insight economist Howard Archer told The Guardian.