Retail sales increased for the first time in five months in July driven by the hot weather and summer Sales with department stores enjoying their strongest growth rate in 30 years.

The CBI’s DistributiveTrades Survey, which was conducted between June 26 and July 16, shows retail sales increased for the first time since February and at a faster rate than expected. But retailers believe sales growth is set to ease back a bit in August.

Meanwhile, sales volumes were the highest since January but remained below average for the first time this year.

CBI director of economics Stephen Gifford said: “The feel-good factor from the heat wave and early summer sales has helped boost high street sales, after a very weak start to the year.

“A return to even modest spending is welcome news but the bottom line is that confidence will not bounce back fully until family finances improve significantly.”

The growth was driven by fashion, which saw the biggest growth since February while department store’s recorded their strongest sales growth since 1983. Grocery sales were “modest”.

Meanwhile, furniture and carpets and specialist food and drink sales volumes fell.