Retail sales values rose last month at their fastest annual pace since April to notch up their best showing for a month of October in seven years.
The British Retail Consortium said the value of like-for-like sales rose 3.8% in October compared with a year ago.
That was the biggest rise since April, when sales were bolstered by Easter, and compared with a rise of 2.8% in September.
The value of total sales -- which includes new floorspace -- was 5.9% higher than a year ago, also the biggest rise since April.
On both measures, the rise was the strongest for a month of October since 2002. However, the BRC noted that the figures had been flattered by comparison with a particularly poor month last year, following the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers.
"These are encouraging results," BRC director general Stephen Robertson told Reuters. "They are, however, compared to dreadful figures last year."
For the second month running, the non-food sector outperformed the food sector, with sales of clothing, footwear and furniture performing particularly well.