High street retail sales rose by 4.2% on a like-for-like basis in April 2014, as against a 2.2% drop in same period a year ago, according to the latest data released by British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG.

On a total basis, sales rose by 5.7%, against a 0.6% fall in April 2013. Growth was positively distorted by the timing of Easter, the agency opined.

In April, sales in furniture & flooring category reported the highest growth since Easter 2006. Other non-food and children’s fashion category also performed well.

The 12-month total sales growth stands at 2.8%, including both the positive and the negative distortions from Easter, which is ahead of the average CPI over the 12 months to March at 2.3%.

Online sales of non-food products in the UK rose 11.2% in April. The Non-Food online penetration rate was 16.1% in April, the lowest since April 2013.

British Retail Consortium Director General Helen Dickinson said retail sales growth for the twelve months to April showed a healthy increase of 2.8% compared to the twelve months to April 2013

"As anticipated, the Easter break introduced a positive distortion into the April 2014 comparable figures (as the holiday fell in March in 2013) and so April sales were up by 5.7 per cent," Dickinson added.

KPMG Retail head David McCorquodale said strong April sales figures may have benefitted from Easter falling late this year but it is clear that the effects of the wider economic recovery are feeding through to the retail sector, as evidenced by the 3.3% rise in non-food sales in the last quarter.

"The clothing and footwear segments performed well over the Spring months, benefitting from milder weather than last year.

"However, if we have fine weather and the good economic news keeps coming, this should give retailers the momentum they need to drive sales of summer stock," McCorquodale added.