Retail sales edged up in July as shoppers took advantage of high street promotions to splash out on electrical appliances and furniture, according to official figures.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said retail sales by volume rose 0.1 per cent month-on-month in July in a reversal of the unexpected 0.1 per cent fall seen in June.
Sales in household goods stores surged 13.4 per cent higher year-on-year in July as a raft of discounts and stronger housing market conditions boosted demand.
But the rise in sales was lower than the 0.4 per cent rise expected by most economists, with a fall in fuel sales on forecourts holding back progress in the retail sector.
The ONS said, on an annual basis, sales were 4.2 per cent higher in July, marking the 28th month in a row of year-on-year growth, which is the longest run for more than seven years.
The underlying picture is also healthy, with quarter-on-quarter sales up by 0.5 per cent, although falls in prices on the high street has seen sales by value drop by 0.2 per cent between June and July.
Prices were slashed across the household goods and furniture sector in the traditional summer sales, with prices down by 2.4 per cent month-on-month in July.
This helped household goods sales rise 3.6 per cent by volume between June and July, with electrical appliances, furniture and lighting items among those selling well.
Consumers are being boosted by record low interest rates and as wage growth outstrips inflation, which remains near historic lows, with the Consumer Prices Index standing at 0.1 per cent.