Monthly sales volume was sluggish over the summer, with uplifts of 0.7 per cent in June, 0.3 per cent in July and 0.3 per cent again in August. However, the volume of retail sales in the three months from June to August was 1.5 per cent higher than the previous three months.
On a monthly basis, food and drink showed a decline of 1.7 per cent - the biggest since January 2003. However, non-food increased 1.2 per cent.
Homewares experienced growth of 3.3 per cent - an improvement against a 3 per cent decrease last month. In the non-store sector, which includes online retailing, sales increased 6.3 per cent. For the three months to August, the unadjusted value of retail sales was 3.7 per cent higher than the same period last year.
Barclays business banking national director for retail and wholesale sectors Paul Clarke said: 'Underlying retail sales growth has been robust during the summer months and this trend has continued into August, helping to put a smile back on retailers' faces - However, it is with a sense of some trepidation that retailers are now entering the crucial run up to Christmas.'