24 May 2017 - Janet Bird
Retail sales grew at more than twice the expected rate in April, shooting up 2.3 percent.
The rise, which followed a 1.8 percent fall in March, defied the predictions of City analysts, who had anticipated growth of just one percent.
Year on year, data from the Office for National Statistics showed sales were up four percent. And while poor sales figures in March largely offset April's growth, meaning sales for the quarter showed just 0.3 percent growth, this is still good news when compared to the previous quarter, which saw retail sales decline at the fastest rate in seven years.
The growth in sales was reflected across all sectors, with only department stores, clothing and footwear retailers bucking the positive trend.
The good weather in April is believed to have been one of the factors contributing to the sales growth.
But with rising inflation and 'real wages' - the gap between inflation and wage growth - falling at the fastest rate since 2013, analysts are warning the resilience of British consumers is likely to face further tests in the months ahead.