Retail sales growth slowed in July despite furniture and home furnishings remaining strong sellers, according to the British Retail Consortium.

Furniture, home accessories and household textiles were the best performing categories last month, supported by a robust housing market, the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor recorded.

Total retail sales rose 2.2 per cent against July 2014, and by 1.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis. June had been stronger, with a rise of 2.9 per cent in total and a 1.8 per cent uplift in same-store sales.

Food was a drag on sales in July, the BRC said, with the total falling for the first time this year. BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: "It seems that consumers remain content to budget carefully on their necessary food outlay and spend that little bit more on purchases they have perhaps deferred."

Official retail sales from the Office for National Statistics are due next week.