Retail sales of food and clothing surged in Britain ahead of the Diamond Jubilee, triggered by better weather after weeks of rain.
Sales by value were up 1.3% on a like-for-like basis in May, following a sharp 3.3% decline in April, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said.
The BRC, which represents 60% of retailers, said although the miserable weather continued at the start of May, this led to pent up demand and then, as the weather improved, shoppers hit the high streets.
BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: "Much of the month's positive performance can be attributed to spending in the final week when consumers responded enthusiastically to the sun coming out."
Children's clothing was the stand-out performer, the BRC said, while women's clothing sales were the strongest of the year so far as sales of outerwear, knitwear and jeans turned to summer dresses, skirts and swimwear as the month progressed towards the Diamond Jubilee.
Men's clothing was also up on last year as shorts, casual jerseys and swimwear sold well.
Additional good news came from a rise in food sales, up on a year ago, as the purchase of home-baking products, potatoes and stewing meats were replaced with salads, fruits, ice-cream and barbecue foods as the weather improved.
Non-alcoholic beverages, wines, beers and spirits also sold very well compared with a much cooler May last year.
Meanwhile, non-high street sales were bolstered by online, mail-order and phone purchases of non-food items, and showed strong growth up 12.4% against a figure of 10.4% last year.
Mr Robertson added: "It's likely the prolonged wet period helped create pent-up demand and people also felt more relaxed about their spending as the sun created a feelgood boost."
According to official figures, total retail sales volumes plunged by a worse-than-expected 2.3% in April as the record rainfall dampened demand for clothing, although this was distorted by a record plunge in petrol and diesel sales.
A BRC survey also showed that Britain's high streets witnessed the worst decline in shopper numbers since November 2009 in April.
Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight , said a decent bounce back in retail sales would mean the economy "may still have a fighting chance" of avoiding further economic contraction in the second quarter.