British retail sales grew much more strongly than expected in October after a heavy fall in September, driven by purchases of furniture after the country's housing market picked up speed earlier this year, official figures showed on Thursday.
Retail sales volumes rose 0.8 percent on the month after a fall of 0.4 percent in September, which had been their weakest performance since January as mild weather put shoppers off buying winter clothes, the Office for National Statistics said.
Clothing sales remained weak as mild weather continued in October.
Total sales rose 4.3 percent in October compared with the same month last year, the ONS said.
Economists had expected a rise of 0.3 percent on the month and a gain of 3.8 percent on the year.
In the three months to October, a smoother reading than the often volatile monthly changes, sales rose 0.4 percent, picking up speed from a gain of 0.2 percent in the three months to September.
Consumer spending has driven Britain's strong economic recovery which began in mid-2013 and is likely to remain its main engine as demand for exports remains weak due to the slowdown in the euro zone.