Retailers are expecting the pace of the high street’s recovery to step up a gear in the wake of a significant improvement in trading during April.
Out of 131 respondents to the CBI’s monthly distributive trades survey, 42% said sales volumes were up on a year ago, while 12% said they were down.
The balance of plus 30% represented the fifth month in a row of year-on-year growth, with future expectations also the strongest since late 2010.
Asda director Barry Williams, who chairs the survey panel, said: “The high street has a spring in its step - retailers performed well in April and enjoyed a strong rise in sales compared with this time last year.
“This latest survey echoes the current drumbeat of positive economic news.
“The trick now is for this to become a consistent theme, and deliver much-needed support to household spending and economic growth in the months ahead.”
The balance of plus 30% was much better than the rate of 13% seen in March when sales were knocked by the later timing of Mother’s Day and Easter.
The CBI said retailers expect sales volumes to grow robustly again in May, with 48% expecting them to rise and 5% to fall.
Among the sectors, grocers, footwear and leather, and hardware and DIY recorded particularly strong annual sales growth amid a recovery from March.
Internet trading continued to perform strongly, with the volume of sales rising at the highest annual rate since November 2012.