Food sales have made a healthy start to the year, rising by 0.2% – the best performance since February 2014. 

Information from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) revealed that food sales have started “promisingly”, but like-for-like sales were down 1.8%.

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said: “The grocery sector saw its first growth in three-month average total sales since the first half of last year – an encouraging sign from the battlefield. With consumers benefiting from lower fuel and petrol prices, retailers are fighting for their share of these savings.”

Total food sales grew for the second consecutive month this January.

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive, IGD, said:“The year started promisingly for food and drink sales, with year-on-year growth in every week during January – the first time this has happened since February 2014.

“The sector is at last seeing modest benefit from the recovering economy and confidence is growing. IGD’s ShopperVista research shows that over a fifth of shoppers expect to be better off in 2015, the highest since we began tracking this in September 2010.

"Shopper confidence is being boosted by lower fuel and grocery prices. A record 23% expect food prices to fall further this year and interest in quality is building, with a quarter of people now prioritising this when shopping for food and drink.”