Consumers spent more time last month starting their early Christmas shopping and spicing up their homes for new numbers.
The latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor showed that total sales increased by 5.6% in September.
Barclaycard segregated consumer spending rose 2%, the biggest improvement in credit card spending since February, before the pandemic fully broke out.
Helen Dickinson, General Manager of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said: “Retail sales growth improved significantly in September, but sales for the last six months are still lower than last year.”
The BRC-KPMG report revealed the strongest monthly sales growth for retailers since December 2009, as like-for-like UK retail sales rose 6.1%.
Even so, in-store non-food sales declined 12.3% from the quarter to the end of September as the post-virus recovery continues on Main Street.
Total non-food retail sales rose 5.2% as shoppers bought more clothing and housewares online over the three-month period.
Ms. Dickinson added, “Tighter coronavirus restrictions have continued to hold back clothes and shoes, especially as the government continues to restrict social events.
“With office workers still at home for the foreseeable future, sales of electronics, housewares, and home office products have remained high.
“The September sales also gave retailers the first signs that consumers will start Christmas shopping earlier this year. Retailers are encouraging their customers to do so to help manage Christmas demand and keep people safe. “
The numbers also showed that grocery sales rose 5.6% for the three month period to the end of last month.
Barclaycard’s latest consumer spending for September also showed that grocery spending was particularly high last month as shoppers stocked up on more essentials amid concerns about tightening lockdowns.
Spending on essentials was reported to have increased 6.1%, driven by a 15.4% increase in supermarket shopping.
The numbers also showed a 4.2% increase in clothing spending as shoppers bought more items online during the month.
Spending in bars and pubs also increased 9% during the month, while restaurant spending fell 18.7% after the end of the Eat to Help program.
Raheel Ahmed, head of consumer goods at Barclaycard, said: “Consumers made the most of the sunshine by socializing in September. Pub and bar spending rose for the first time since the national lockdown was introduced in March.
“However, we have also seen households prepare to spend more time indoors as winter approaches and as a result, home improvement increases.
“While the nation’s confidence in the UK economy has improved slightly, many are still cautious about the coming winter months and the resulting uncertainty has led some to start again with stockpiling.”