Shoppers throughout England are at their most confident since January 2011, according to new IGD research.

Confidence is increasing most rapidly outside London, with 20% of shoppers in the North saying they will be better off this year, compared to just 8% three years ago. The highest expression of optimism was in London, at 23%, but only 3% higher than in January 2011.

However, people remain cautious and are still embracing ‘savvy shopping’ habits picked up during the recession. When shoppers were asked what their main priorities were for their grocery shopping in 2014, 64% said it was saving money, 47% said reducing food waste, and 47% said keeping to a tight budget.

Optimism among independent retailers is also high, according to the ACS’ latest Voice of Local Shops survey. Some 26% of retailers said they expected sales to rise this year, with optimism rising for the third consecutive quarter.

Middlesbrough retailer Bay Bashir, who owns three Lifestyle Express stores in the town, said sales between January and March were up 8% year on year. “The economy has definitely played a part,” he said.