According to the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitior UK retail sales values in July were up 2.2% on a like-for-like basis from July last year, when they had increased 0.1% on the preceding year.
On a total basis, sales were up 3.9%, against a 2.0% increase YoY, the fastest July growth since 2006. In real terms, total growth was 4.4%, the fastest since April 2011.
The sunny weather boosted the food and fashion categories while dampening the home categories – Furniture & Flooring, Home Accessories and House Textiles – as well as internet sales.
Online sales were up 7.9% compared with July 2012, when they had risen by 15.6%.
Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: "This is a very solid sales performance, the second best month this year and better than we've seen in any July since 2006. It has been driven by the warm weather and retailers working hard to offer deep discounts and great offers to their customers, with the reduction in shop prices we reported for July translating into more generous spending in UK stores."
"Food has performed very strongly, with summer barbecue ingredients and feel-good foods doing well during a month where the Lions, Murray, Chris Froome in the Tour de France and the start of the Ashes series all contributed to the positive summer feeling. Clothing has also had a very good month, which was down to good weather spurring summer fashion buys and some very good discounting."
"While we know that the picture is still variable and the High Street in particular continues to face considerable challenges, these positive results will be welcomed in town centres around the country that depend so much on retailers performing well."