British retailers have experienced the fastest July sales growth since 2006 as the warm weather, sporting wins and the arrival of Kate Middleton's royal baby prompted consumers to spend more on the high street.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said that total retail sales rose 3.9% in July, compared to a 2.0% increase in July 2012, the fastest July growth since 2006.
On a like-for-like basis, which shows the impact of new store openings and closures, retail sales were up 2.2% from July 2012 when they had increased by 0.1% year-on-year.
Food and fashion sales increased due to the warm weather, while sales of furniture and flooring, home accessories and house textiles declined.
Internet sales which have experienced significant growth recently were up 7.9% compared with July 2012, when they had risen by 15.6%.
"This is a very solid sales performance, the second best month this year and better than we've seen in any July since 2006," Helen Dickinson, BRC director-general said in a statement.
"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."
Murray Mania and Royal Baby
Britons popped open the bubbly and held barbecues to celebrate the royal family's newest arrival and Murray's Wimbledon triumph, boosting sales of food and drink.
While these are one-off factors pushing retail sales, the sales figures add to evidence that Britain's economic recovery is gathering pace.
"Hopefully this uptick in sales is another indication that the UK economy has turned the corner towards growth," said David McCorquodale, head of retail at accountancy firm KPMG.
"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."
Dickinson noted that food items had a strong sales growth in July as the Lions, Murray, Chris Froome in the Tour de France and the start of the Ashes series added to the positive summer feeling.
Clothing sales rose due to the warm weather and deep discounting from retailers.
"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," Dickinson added.