Retailers have received some welcome encouragement after sales in London in October increased 4.2% on a like for like basis compared with a 2.6% fall seen a year earlier.
According to the British Retail Consortium, footfall also improved as a combination of unseasonably mild weather, half term holidays and Halloween gave people reasons to go out.
Although growth in food sales weakened slightly, homeware stores benefited from better consumer confidence and housing market news.
The mild weather meant that clothing and footwear stores struggled during the month.
"These are the first solid signs that it will be a better retail Christmas than 2008. London sales were well up on the dismal performance of a year ago and outperformed the rest of the UK, though not to quite the same extent as in recent months," said Stephen Robertson, Director General of the British Retail Consortium.
"The next few weeks will be crucial for retailers but these latest figures should hopefully be cause for greater optimism," added Helen Dickinson, Head of Retail at KPMG.
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