The food and clothing sectors were responsible for the surprise increase in retail sales during May.
The Office for National Statistics reported that sales rose 3.5 per cent in May from April - making this the highest rise since records began in 1986.
It was certainly a dramatic turnaround from the 0.2 per cent fall the previous month. Clothing, textile and footwear sales grew 9.2 per cent on a month-on-month basis, another high since records began. Food sales were up 3.3 per cent.
Meanwhile, on a three month basis from March to May sales rose by 1.8 per cent compared with the previous three months. This followed a 1.5 per cent growth in the three months to April.
Three-monthly growth in sales volume was 0.7 per cent for predominantly food stores. In predominantly non-food stores, sales rose by 2.5 per cent, the largest increase in this sector since June 2006 when it was 2.6 per cent.
Sales in the non-store retailing and repair sector rose by 2.2 per cent, while sales in other stores (which includes games stores and mobile phone stores) increased by 5.4 per cent, the largest growth in the series.
Total sales volume in the three months to May was 5.4 per cent higher than the same period a year ago.