By Daniel Hunter

Data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today (Friday) shows that UK retail sales recorded their biggest monthly rise in more than a year in March.

Having seen a 0.8% drop in February, retail sales volumes rose by 1.8% in March.

"The 1.8% UK retail sales figure for March really is staggeringly good, the strongest showing in over a year. What’s great is that even excluding auto fuels, retail sales grew by 1.5%," Richard Driver, analyst for Caxton FX, said.

"The premature warm weather will be responsible to a large degree as it will have triggered clothing and gardening purchases.

"The retail sales figure should put fears of a return to technical recession more or less to bed.

"Even in light of February’s retail contraction, the sector enjoyed robust growth in Q1 — 0.8% up from Q4 last 2011.

"As ever, weak consumer confidence, high unemployment, high oil prices and the constant wave of government austerity highlight the ongoing risks to consumer spending, but good news is good news."

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