Retail sales in the UK were up 1.2% on a like-for-like basis from July 2014, when they had decreased 0.3% on the preceding year.\u00a0\r\n\r\nThis is according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG Retail Sales Monitor which found that on a total basis sales were up 2.2%, against a 1.3% rise in July 2014. Growth was driven by non-food sales, which grew 3.7% over the same period.\r\n\r\nThe report showed that jewellery and watches showed \u201crobust\u201d growth in July, rising at its fastest rate since the category was added to the monitor in November 2014. Overall it was the fifth fastest growing category, ahead of clothing, health and beauty and household appliances.\r\n\r\nHelen Dickinson, director general at the BRC, said: \u201cDespite being a slight slowdown compared with last month, today\u2019s sales growth of 2.2% compared with this time last year reflects the continued hard work by retailers to tap into increasing consumer demand.\r\n\r\n\u201cHowever, as the labour market continues to improve and real wages show strong growth it\u2019s no surprise our extra disposable income seems to be being spent on more discretionary purchases.\u201d\r\n\r\nMeanwhile, online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 14.7% in July versus a year earlier, when they had grown 14.9%. The non-food online penetration rate was 17.6%, up from 16.5% in July 2014.\r\n\r\nJewellery and watch sales achieved their highest online growth since February. The report said that this is indicative of consumers\u2019 willingness to spend on discretionary luxuries, citing deflationary shop prices and rising real incomes as favorable trends for consumer spending.