Total UK retail sales climbed 3.9 per cent year-on-year in July, against a two per cent rise in July 2012 - the fastest growth in the month since 2006.
Like-for-like sales rose 2.2 per cent over July 2012, according to the latest data from the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor. Online sales increased 7.9 per cent year-on-year.
Helen Dickinson, Director General at the British Retail Consortium, said: "This is a very solid sales performance, the second best month this year and better than we've seen in any July since 2006. It has been driven by the warm weather and retailers working hard to offer deep discounts and great offers to their customers, with the reduction in shop prices we reported for July translating into more generous spending in UK stores.
"Food has performed very strongly, with summer barbecue ingredients and feel-good foods doing well during a month where the Lions, Murray, Chris Froome in the Tour de France and the start of the Ashes series all contributed to the positive summer feeling. Clothing has also had a very good month, which was down to good weather spurring summer fashion buys and some very good discounting.
"While we know that the picture is still variable and the High Street in particular continues to face considerable challenges, these positive results will be welcomed in town centres around the country that depend so much on retailers performing well."
David McCorquodale, Head of Retail at KPMG, added: "July was a golden month for retail sales and marks a return to form for British retailers. Hopefully this uptick in sales is another indication that the UK economy has turned the corner towards growth. Murray mania, summer sun and the arrival of the royal baby gave consumers that much needed feel good factor, encouraging them to leave caution behind and help retailers put in a champion performance.
"Sales of food and drink soared as consumers popped open the bubbly and held barbecues to celebrate the royal family's newest arrival, Murray's Wimbledon triumph and the warm delights of summer.
"With autumn ranges now hitting the shelves, retailers need some cooler weather to encourage consumers to treat themselves to some new winter woollies. If they get these new ranges right and suitable weather, it could be game, set and match."