According to the latest data, the July heatwave prompted shoppers to spend more on summer clothes, picnic food and air conditioning.
The British Retail Consortium said the value of total sales rose by 2.3% last month compared to July 2021 – good news for retailers after a drop in the past three months.
Similar sales rose 1.6% after a four-month decline.
But the numbers aren’t adjusted for inflation and the union said they represent a drop in volume.
Inflation hit a 40-year high of 9.4% in June and July figures will be released later this month.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said that with inflation above 9%, many retailers were still grappling with declining sales volumes “in what remains an incredibly difficult trading period”.
“Consumer confidence remains weak and talks of a slowdown combined with a rate hike will not improve the situation,” he said.
Total sales of non-food items like housewares fell 2% last quarter.
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In-store sales of non-food items rose 2% over the three-month period, but online sales fell 3.9%, reversing the trend seen during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Paul Martin, UK Retail Head at KPMG, said: “The lull before the summer storm could be on the horizon as consumers face tougher conditions from the summer break to return to holiday credit card bills, another energy price hike and rising interest rates. come along
“With the high cost of living looming, consumers will need to prioritize essentials and spending on discretionary products will come under pressure.”
Consumer spending rose 7.7% year on year in July, data from Barclaycard showed, boosted by sales of clothing, beauty products and shelters.
But it also includes a 44% increase in utility spending and a 30% increase in fuel consumption.
Families are reducing international travel and eating out, but Barclaycard said its survey shows confidence in household finances.
Almost 66% of survey respondents said they feel secure about their household finances, compared to 59% in June.
Jose Carvalho, Head of Consumer Products at Barclaycard, said: “This shows that in challenging circumstances, many are looking for ways to successfully budget and manage their finances to withstand ongoing inflationary pressures. “