The rise was nearly three times faster than expected and represented the highest month-on-month rise since February, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. Expectations were for sales to rise 0.4 per cent month-on-month.
Year-on-year, sales were up 1.3 per cent against a forecast of 0.6 per cent. The rise came despite concerns over the prospects of the High Street following the implementation of the Chancellor's new budget.
VAT is set to rise to 20 per cent in January as part of the coalition's debt reducing package, while public sector cuts and fears over unemployment are also likely to dent consumer confidence.
It's likely, however, that despite these concerns, shoppers were tempted in by price cutting after inflation figures showed the biggest slide in some items for eight years between June and July.