Big sales discounts and hot weather tempted bargain-hungry consumers into a summer spending spree last month despite the recession, fuelling a surprise surge in high street trading.

The quantity of goods sold at stores rose by 1.2%, more than reversing a 0.9%t fall in the previous month with a gain that was three times larger than City economists predicted, according to official figures.

The sizzling June for retailers nationwide boosted optimism over the immediate prospects for economic recovery. It reinforced other signs that consumers are proving more resilient than expected despite the slump.

The Times, Daily Telegraph