UK retail sales were up 0.8% on a like-for-like basis in October 2013 against last year when they decreased 0.1%, according to the data released by British Retail Consortium and KPMG.

On a total basis, sales were up 2.6%, against 1.1% increase in October 2012.

The agency noted that the three-month average total growth (2.8%) is much closer aligned to the 12-month average of 2.7%, suggesting that a more sustainable level has been reached.

Food sales growth during the last three months averaged 2.0%, which was below recent levels of inflation – indicating shrinking volumes.

During October, clothing experienced a decline in total sales for the first time since March, affected by unseasonably warm weather. Strong growth in other Non-Food points to an encouraging start to the festive season.

Online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 12.1% in October versus a year earlier. The online penetration rate was 18.3% in October, the highest level ever recorded by BRC Monitor over 23 months.

Much of the improvement was driven by sustained demand for new games and gadgets, and there was also a strong showing for home accessories and textiles.

"In contrast, clothing sales fell for the first time since March, suggesting that many customers prioritised leisure and home improvements over refreshing their wardrobes until more autumnal conditions took hold.

"Consumer confidence paused in October, and while conditions remain challenging, the signs are that customers are managing their budgets well while allowing some leeway for occasional treats," added Helen Dickinson, director general, British Retail Consortium.