Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed a stronger-than-expected 0.6% increase in sales volumes between August and September.
That compares to recent data from the Scottish Retail Consortium which showed like-for-like sales down 0.8% in the last month.
The ONS said furniture stores had a strong month, suggesting momentum in the housing market may be feeding through to the sector, as household goods stores grew volumes by 3%.
Supermarket sales fell 0.2% on the month, after August's 2.5% fall. The ONS said that wiped out gains from a storming July for Britain's supermarkets, when nice weather lifted sales of barbecue goods.
Statisticians said the fall in supermarket sales volumes was largely driven by slumping sales of household goods rather than food.
An overall better-than-expected month for Britain's retailers will reassure over economic growth in the July to September quarter, which is expected to beat second-quarter growth of 0.7%.
Overall sales volumes rose 2.2% in the month on a year earlier. The amount spent in the retail sector increased by 0.5% on the month.Sales at clothing, footwear and textile retailers increased 1.2% on the month.
Martin Beck, UK economist at consultancy Capital Economics, said: "The consumer should contribute to another decent rise in growth domestic product in the third quarter."
James Knightley, economist at ING Bank, said figures offer more encouragement over consumer spending, but warned higher utility bills could dampen growth in the near term. Online shopping rose 19.1% on a year earlier to a weekly average of £615 million. Online shopping accounts for 10.2% of retail spending, excluding fuel.
The ONS said sales of computer game Grand Theft Auto 5 may have lifted computer and telecoms stores, helping them grow sales 4.8%.