Retail sales rose last month, as sales of indoor furniture and homewares were boosted by the UK's mixed summer weather, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
Overall, sales increased by 3.6 per cent compared to July last year, although the increases on a like-for-like basis – which discounts new stores – was lower, at 1.8 per cent.
The figures represented a more marked increase than was recorded in June, when the measure went up by 1.4 per cent.
While food sales growth slowed slightly because of lower inflation, indoor furniture and homewares proved popular due to clearance sales and unpredictable weather, with many consumers staying in after a scorching June.
"July showed us both sides of the British summer and gave some parts of retailing a much needed boost," commented Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC.
"The largely cooler, wetter second half of the month turned attention indoors, helping sales of furniture and homewares – which have been under pressure throughout the downturn."
Sales also boosted internet and mail order purchases, which were 20 per cent higher than a year ago.
In the last quarter (May to July), total retail sales are up 0.8 per cent compared to the same period last year on a like-for-like basis, and 2.5 per cent in total.
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