Big-ticket furniture lines were the headline act in January as retailers enjoyed their strongest month since September according to the British Retail Consortium.

The retail lobby group said the category topped the sales ranking tables as the wider retail sector enjoyed like-for-like growth of 2.6 per cent and total growth of 3.3 per cent on January 2015.

“This was the best performance for retailers since September and ahead of the three and twelve month averages,” said BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson.

"January's performance was driven by big-ticket items, in particular furniture, which is encouraging in the largest month of the year for the category.”

David McCorquodale, UK head of retail at survey sponsor KPMG, said: “Furniture and home accessories continued their strong run as the improving property market enjoys its makeover. Following a fairly admirable Christmas, January was also a reasonable month for the grocers with total food and drink sales remaining in the black, just, for the three months November to January.”

Official retail sales are due later this month.