An early Easter lifted the supermarket sector as increasing sales has poised the industry for a "slow but steady fight back", according to official figures.

Data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) shows that UK retail sales increased by 3.2% last month compared to March 2014.

Total food sales were up 1.8%, the fastest growth for total food sales since July 2013.

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said that although encouragement can be taken from the increasing sales, price wars between the leading supermarkets are continuing to have a negative impact on the sector.

"An early Easter and better economic news helped lift retail sales out of the doldrums in March and the sector posted the strongest sales growth seen in nearly a year," said McCorquodale.

"Signs of recovery were also seen in the grocers' figures, who are mounting a slow but steady fight back. However price deflation continues to dog the sector, and while supermarkets may be selling more, they are peddling hard to stand still. Demand is definitely pushing in the right direction, but there is a long way to go before like for like food sales are back in positive territory."

Helen Dickinson, director general at BRC, added: "All-in-all, retailers can also be satisfied with the consumer response to their Mother's Day and Easter offerings, but it is important to note that April figures will be impacted by the absence of Easter this year."