British retail sales edged up in July as shoppers took advantage of high-street promotions to splash out on electrical appliances and furniture, according to official figures.

The country’s Office for National Statistics said retail sales by volume rose 0.1% month-on-month in July in a reversal of the unexpected 0.1% fall seen in June.

Sales in household goods stores surged 13.4% higher year-on-year in July as a raft of discounts and stronger housing market conditions boosted demand.

But the rise in sales was lower than the 0.4% rise expected by most economists, with a fall in fuel sales on forecourts holding back progress in the retail sector.

Paul Hollingsworth, UK economist at Capital Economics, said the weaker than expected retail sales figures were "nothing to worry about".

He added: "The prospects for retail spending remain bright. Real pay is rising strongly, unemployment is still low and the recent fall-back in the oil price and the forthcoming cut to gas prices should give households' discretionary spending power another healthy boost."