Surging sales of furniture helped UK retail sales recover in September and offset another tough month for supermarkets.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed a stronger-than-expected 0.6% increase in sales volumes in September on August, helping recover from a surprise 0.8% fall a month earlier.
The ONS said furniture stores reported a strong month, suggesting momentum in Britain's housing market may be feeding through to the sector, with household goods stores growing volumes by 3%.
But sales volumes at supermarkets fell 0.2% on the month, following a 2.5% slump in August.
The ONS said that has wiped out gains from a very strong July for Britain's supermarkets, when sales of barbecue goods were driven by soaring temperatures.
Statisticians said the fall in supermarket sales volumes was largely driven by slumping sales of household goods rather than food.
An overall better-than-expected month for Britain's retailers will reassure over economic growth in the July to September quarter, which is expected to beat second-quarter growth of 0.7%.
Overall sales volumes were up 2.2% in the month on a year earlier. The amount spent in the retail sector increased by 0.5% on the month. Sales at clothing, footwear and textile retailers increased 1.2% on the month.
The ONS said sales of new computer game Grand Theft Auto 5 may have given computer and telecoms stores a boost, helping them grow sales 4.8% on a month earlier.