Strong sales of party food and clothes ahead of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations helped beleaguered retailers keep their heads above water in June.
Like-for-like sales rose 1.4% over the month, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said, after the Jubilee sparked the strongest week for grocery sales since Easter and a rare blast of sun drove sales of summer clothes.
But the rest of the month proved "challenging" as the wettest June on record kept shoppers at home and dampened demand for barbecues and gardening items, while even home improvement failed to gain a boost.
Despite inflation, like-for-like sales over the first half of 2012 grew just 0.8% on the previous year, highlighting the strain on the sector amid the squeeze in people's incomes.
More top news
The Duke of Cambridge is to end his role as an air ambulance pilot and become a full-time Royal, Kensington Palace has announced.
The UN released the before and after images and described the damage, reportedly caused by Islamic State, as 'a new war crime'.
The 16-year-old's body was found on January 16 on a pathway in Dinnington, South Yorkshire.