Total sales up 2% compared with 2.5% in July last year

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.

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July 'lacklustre' for retailers

Retailers suffered a "lacklustre" July as expectations of an Olympic boost appear to be "wide of the mark", according to a leading survey.