The volume of UK retail sales continued to grow at a modest pace during July, new statistics published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed.

Retail sales grew by 0.3% in July – exceeding analysts' expectations, and matching the 0.3% rate of growth recorded in June.

The growth in July has been largely attributed to a rise in the volume of food sales: such sales rose by 1.5% in July, representing a small increase on June's figure of 1.1%.

Online sales in July also increased by 15.1% when compared to the same period in 2016.

However, the ONS data revealed that the gap between wages and inflation continues to widen.

Ole Black, Senior Statistician at the ONS, commented: 'The underlying trend at the beginning of 2017 showed a relatively subdued picture in retail sales.

'Strong food sales have been responsible for the growth of 0.3% in July compared with June, as all other main sectors have shown a decrease. Whilst the overall growth is the same as in June, trends in growth in different sectors are proving quite volatile.'

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