The British Retail Consortium said that warm sunny weather and special Sales events had boosted trade in London during May. Clothing and footwear sales were boosted after several difficult months. Designer fashions maintained good sales and accessories and beauty products remained popular.
Western European remained the main overseas shoppers, taking advantage of the strength of the Euro, while Americans and Japanese were still discouraged by the weak dollar and yen.
BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: "Central London sales growth rose to its highest rate since February as summery weather finally arrived in early May. Shopper numbers were up on a year ago thanks to sun and Sales bargains. But it may be that central London gains were partly offset elsewhere as high petrol prices discouraged Londoners from travelling to shopping centres further afield. Consumer confidence continued to fall in London, though higher average incomes and more tourists meant the fall was less than for the UK as a whole."