By Jonathan Davies

Retail sales showed a less-than-expected rise in July, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS said sales were up 2.6% in July, compared with the previous year, but just 0.1% above June's figures.

Most analysts expected month-on-month growth of 0.4%, but the ONS said downward pressure on sales came from non-store retail and fuel.

Store prices were flat in June, but fell by 0.9% in June. And there was also a 1.3% decrease in spending in food stores, the first fall in 25 years.

Keith Richardson, Managing Director, Retail Sector at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “A second successive month of weak sales figures will cause concern throughout the sector. Retailers will hope the slowdown in sales is a temporary blip rather than a prolonged decline in consumer confidence.

“The contrasting fortunes of the food and non-food sectors was more pronounced during July. Non-food retailers, especially those operating in clothing, footwear and home improvement sectors, were boosted by a prolonged spell of good weather and a buoyant housing market."

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