British retailers posted strong sales in April on the back of warm weather and a later Easter.
Retailers in London delivered a 5.4% hike in like-for-like sales last month, up from the 5.2% growth registered in March, as the weak pound drew European tourists to shops in the capital.
Retailers outside London notched up growth of 4.6% – a dramatic improvement on the 1.2% fall in sales in March.
“Sunshine and Easter didn't give London sales growth the big boost they provided for the rest of the UK but that's because the London figures were already well up on other parts of the country,” said British Retail Consortium director general Stephen Robertson.
He added: “Overall, London's customers are proving more resilient to recession. Since the start of the year, London retail sales have consistently outperformed the country as a whole.”
The figures, produced in conjunction with accountancy giant KPMG, are likely to be interpreted by some observers as evidence that the UK is beginning to recover from the recession.