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 one minute silence has been held at the Queen's Garden Party in memory of the 22 people killed and 59 injured in the Manchester attack.
Mancunians have come together in defiance after a suicide bomber killed 22 people at a concert.
Extra armed police will be deployed to Wembley and Twickenham this weekend, police have confirmed.