Total sales, including new stores, were up 2% compared with 2.5% in July last year, while the three-month rolling average shows growth of like-for-like non-food sales outpacing food sales for the first time.
So-called big-ticket items such as furniture and household appliances continue to struggle to sell with growth being promotion-driven.
Online, mail-order and phone sales of non-food items show stronger growth, up 15.6% against growth of 9.6% last year.
More top news
A new teacher has been hailed a hero after she intervened when a student opened fire in a school killing a girl and injuring four others.
The public love him but The X Factor judges seem shocked the Essex crooner has lasted three weeks on the live shows.
Rumours are swirling comedian Russell Brand is considering running for Boris Johnson's job.