August 16 2012.

- July 2012 retail sales volume up 0.3% on the month, up 2.8% on the year

- Annual high street inflation slowed to 0.2% in June, the lowest since 2009

Commenting on the retails sales figures for July 2012, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: "Retail sales made modest but satisfactory progress in July, with the monthly increase higher than expected. The 2.8% annual increase in retail sales volumes supports our belief that some of the pessimism surrounding the recent performance of the UK economy is unwarranted. This figure provides hope that in the third quarter of the year we will see some recovery in economic activity.

"The further decline in high street inflation is also welcome news. This will support disposable incomes and consumer spending, at a time when austerity and the eurozone crisis continue to put the economy under pressure.

"Despite the positive job market figures published this week, it is clear economic growth in the UK is still far too weak. The government must do much more to help businesses to grow and create jobs at a time when the public sector continues to shrink.

"We need to see more measures to boost infrastructure and strengthen the construction sector, alongside forceful deregulation and moves towards the creation of a state-backed business bank. It is also important to ensure that the Funding for Lending scheme is made to work effectively so that credit-worthy businesses are able to grow."