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Retail sales rose again in July, as the wet weather lifted demand for furniture and homeware goods, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has said.
This was a bigger increase than the 1.4% rise reported for June.
However, the BRC cautioned that rising unemployment was preventing a wider return of consumer confidence.
Sales of furniture and homewares saw their biggest year-on-year growth in three years during July, although the BRC said this was against a very low base in July 2008, and lifted by extensive discounting.