The recent spell of autumnal weather may have encouraged customers to stock up on winter clothes and walking boots a little earlier than they might have done otherwise, new figures have suggested.

According to the latest High Street Sales Tracker from accountancy firm BDO, like-for-like (LFL) UK retail sales were up by 3.5 per cent last month – a stark contrast with the 5.1 per cent fall recorded by the survey at the same time last year. However, sales of clothing were particularly weak in September 2011 as Britain was gripped by an unseasonable heat wave, which meant relatively few people were interested in buying winter clothing.

"It's not something people generally like to think about too much, but the fact of the matter is that the winter months are just around the corner," said Brandon Egley Online Marketing Executive at GO Outdoors. "It makes sense, then, to start stocking up on all the clothing and footwear you'll need to withstand the wet, muddy and icy conditions that go hand-in-hand with winter. What's more, if you start shopping for winter clothes now, you can still pick up some genuine bargains – which is bound to come in handy for those of us who are watching the pennies carefully."

A separate survey from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG also suggested that sales of clothing and footwear enjoyed something of a rebound last month. The 1.5 per cent increase recorded in LFL retail sales – along with a 3.4 per cent jump in total sales – was largely driven by clothing sales, again indicating that consumers are already thinking ahead and preparing for the coming winter season.

With many retailers pinning their hopes on a strong run-up to Christmas after what has been a challenging year for consumers, it is to be hoped that the momentum gathered in recent months carries on through the festive period and beyond into the New Year.