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
Britons have been warned to expect plunging temperatures and wet weather as remnants of Hurricane Joaquin hit.
George Osborne has recruited former Labour minister Lord Adonis to spearhead efforts to get Britain building again.
More than 20 people are feared injured after a British millionaire crashed his supercar into a crowd at a motor show in Malta.