British retail sales posted a solid rise last month as Britons splashed out on sturdy shoes and warm clothes, the British Retail Consortium said on Tuesday, raising the chances of a more lasting economic recovery.
Internet sales also showed some signs of a rebound after Britons watched the London Olympics and the Paralympics in August and early September rather than shopping online.
Like-for-like retail sales -- or sales at stores open for at least a year -- rose by 1.5 percent in value terms compared with September 2011, following a 0.4 percent dip in August, the BRC said.
The value of total retail sales, a measure favoured by economists and closer to that found in official statistics, was 3.4 percent up on the year, after a 1.6 percent climb in August.
"After a poor summer for sales, this is a return to growth rates we've come to regard as relatively acceptable in these relentlessly tough times," BRC Director General Stephen Robertson said.
"This September's colder conditions contrast sharply with the heatwave a year ago, giving clothing and footwear sales a major boost as shoppers stock up early on coats, boots and knitwear," he added.
Online sales picked up during the month, in particular after the end of the Paralympics, he said. In August, online retailers had seen the steepest slump since late 2007.
The government and the Bank of England are hoping that lower inflation will ease the pressure on consumers' budgets and allow them to spend more. Rising employment and signs that the economy has emerged from recession should also lift consumer morale.
Most economists predict that the economy grew between July and September after three consecutive quarters of contraction, as it recovered some of the output lost in June due to an extra public holiday.
But a string of weaker business surveys have raised concerns that the economic recovery may soon falter again.
(Reporting by Sven Egenter; editing by Ron Askew)