Retailers are enjoying a second month of growing sales as customers slowly return to the high streets.

Total sales rose 3.2% in July, up 0.5% from the year before. However the main increase was in food sales, at 6.1%, the fastest growth rate since June 2009.

Sales of non-food items continued to fall by 4.3%.

The BRC said the rise in sales was a “step in the right direction” but the detail showed how much ground has to be regained.