Household goods retailers enjoyed their best sales performance in more than a year in March.
Stores saw the value of sales rise by 2% in March, the largest increases since the 7.7% rise of January 2011. Sales volumes rose by 2.5% and prices showed signs of edging up, according to ONS.
The sector's estimated average weekly sales were £600m, of which 5.9% were made via the Internet.
The value of all retail sales jumped by 5.7% as motorists panic bought petrol although sales excluding fuel were still 4.9% higher.
Sales figures for March and April are traditionally difficult to compare as the different timing of Easter can alter sales patterns.