By Matt Ayres

New figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) show that supermarkets have experienced a sharp rise in retail sales.

According to a survey undertaken by the BRC and KPMG, sales have risen by 3.2% compared to March 2014, showing the strongest growth since January last year.

Total food sales showed the strongest growth since July 2013 (a 1.8% rise) as shopper stocked up for Easter.

Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: “Good weather and the long Easter break saw shoppers choose shops over screens as they hit the high street and enjoyed the sunshine.

"Many retailers used this trend to their advantage, launching digital campaigns to drive footfall in stores by tempting shoppers in with emails promoting new ranges and money off vouchers.

"This demand led approach proves that online and in store are simply two sides of the same coin for a successful retailer."

March was the third consecutive month of higher retail sales, following a fall in December 2014. The March figures showed that physical stores contributed more to growth than online sales for the first time since August, on a three-month average basis.

Furniture and household appliances provided the second-highest contribution to the rise in retailing, helped by the booming housing market.