Britain's rain-lashed high streets overcame exceptional wet weather and floods to post the greatest year-on-year rise in sales for more than a year and a half, according to new figures.

The latest distributive trades survey from the CBI revealed the best reading since June 2012 as clothes sales bounced back after a dismal January, while supermarkets and furniture and carpet firms also enjoyed buoyant trade in a reversal of last month's post-Christmas cut-back.

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