The increase is thought to have been triggered by clearance sales in the early part of 2011.
Internet, mail order and phone sales (non-store sales) showed the most marked increase, climbing 11.5 per cent. The increase came after two slower months in non-store sales.
Dashing any hopes of resurgence in high-end jewellery sales, director general of the BRC, Stephen Robertson, said: “The modest sales improvement has been concentrated on less expensive things – home textiles and accessories – rather than big-ticket items.
“Given June’s spate of shop closure announcements and weak company results, these figures are not as bad as they could have been but it shows just how tough times are when total sales growth of 1.5 per cent is regarded as not that bad,” he added.
Head of retail at KPMG, Helen Dickinson, said: “All sectors, except women’s clothing and footwear, achieved an improved performance. Inflation and a higher level of VAT (20 per cent this June and 17.5 per cent last) are included in the measured sales value, and hence underlying volumes of sales continue to fall.”