British consumers have taken "a pause" in their spending this February, after deals flooded the High Street during Christmas and the January sales, experts have said.
Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, explained:
Retailers created an exceptional and successful promotional period this January, but having taken advantage of those deals, some consumers have taken a little bit of a pause in their shopping in February.
Reform will help high street retailers invest in their offer and attract more people out to the shops, supporting local jobs and benefiting the wider economy.
Constant downpours failed to put off shoppers last month as retail industry figures published today pointed to the strongest sales growth since March 2010.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG said total sales in January rose 5.4% on a year ago as improved job prospects and the recovery in the housing market led to a strong month for homewares and furniture businesses.
However it was not all good news across the sector, with grocers again squeezed by very low levels of sales growth.
David McCorquodale, head of retail at accountants KPMG, who sponsored today's retail sales survey by the British Retail Consortium said the poor figures show Britain's economic recovery is a "slow, relentless slog".
October was another difficult month for retailers, reminding us that recovery is a slow, relentless slog.
Whilst the summer months hinted at increased consumer confidence, retailers will struggle to maintain a sustained sales recovery until wage growth outpaces price inflation.
The coldest March in 50 years boosted sales for food and drink, while clothing and footwear retailers endured a "dismal" month, The British Retail Consortium (BRC) found.
It is thought the cold weather encouraged an appetite for hearty meals, with food sales up as families enjoyed themselves over Easter.
According to the BRC, sales grew by 1.9% in March on a like-for-like basis, weaker than February's 2.7% surge.
The organisation said: "2013 has got off to an encouraging start for the market as a whole. Retailers are now hoping for a boost in consumer confidence and the general mood to lift performance across all, not just some sectors, as we head into the second quarter."