Britain's retail sales were up 4.2 percent in April compared to the previous year when they had declined 2.2 percent, said the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Tuesday. Total sales also grew strongly by 5.7 percent over the period. Furniture and flooring in April registered its highest growth since Easter 2006, said BRC in a press release. Online sales of non-food products in Britain grew 11.2 percent in April compared to a year earlier, with the category's penetration rate decreasing to 16.1 percent, the lowest since April 2013. "There are now clear signs that the retail economy is expanding as retailers offer great new products and competitive prices to consumers who are still watching their spending very closely," said Helen Dickson, director general of BRC, in a statement. Britain's retail sales quantity including auto fuel increased 0.1 percent in March 2014, compared with that of February, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed last month. Samuel Tombs, UK economist at Capital Economics, said in note: "April's BRC retail sales monitor indicates that consumers loosened their purse strings over the Easter holidays." The positive outlook for employment and real pay suggests that the consumer-led recovery will remain strong over the rest of 2014, said Tombs. The London-based economic research company retains its projections of a 2.5 percent growth of overall real consumer spending in 2014.