British supermarket total sales rose by 5.4 per cent year-over-year in the four weeks to March 23 as slowing inflation encouraged shoppers to increase their purchases, industry data showed on Wednesday.

The increase was slightly stronger than the 5.3 per cent rise reported a month earlier, market researcher NIQ said.

Mike Watkins, NIQ’s UK head of retailer and business insight, said a fall in food prices in March and competition amongst the supermarkets boosted sales.

“However, overall consumer spend remains under pressure as many household bills continue to increase above (inflation) and this is reflected in the continued weak consumer confidence,” he said.