The British Retail Consortium has reported that UK retail sales values were 0.6 per cent higher last month on a like-for-like basis from July 2010.
On a total basis, sales were up 2.5 per cent - against a 2.6 per cent increase in July 2010.
Food sales growth picked up after a slow June, while clothing and footwear also improved, helped by clearance sales. Homewares were mostly down on a year ago and often promotion-led.
Non-food, non-store (internet, mail order and phone) sales growth slowed after June's clearance-led boost. Sales were up 9.6 per cent higher than a year ago, compared with 11.5 per cent in June and 11.3 per cent in July 2010.
In terms of leisure goods, book sales fell to their lowest level on seven years, as e-books and readers continued to rise in popularity. Fiction was hardest hit, although non-fiction was bolstered by the arrival of several celebrity cook books and autobiographies.
Computer and electronic games were also slow, while outdoor toys struggled in the cool weather.