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 damning report has accused police officers of abusing their power to sexually exploit people, including vulnerable victims of crime.
Donald Trump arrives in North Carolina on his 'thank you' tour of a country Time magazine dubbed the "Divided States of America".
One in four people will experience a mental health problem, but councils spend a "negligible" amount of prevention says charity.