Shoppers are raiding their savings and using billions of pounds paid in PPI compensation by the banks to go on a spending spree.
Retail sales are growing at their fastest rate since the peak of the consumer boom in early 2008.
The increase is at odds with evidence that pay rises continue to lag behind increases in the cost of food, energy and transport.
The money appears to be coming from savings, credit cards and the £12billion paid out by the banks to consumers who were mis-sold payment protection insurance alongside loans and credit cards.
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