The widely-feared slump in retail sales failed to materialise last month.
The two terrorist attacks on London, followed by reports that shoppers were shunning the capital's West End, coupled with a heatwave early in the month had led to suggestions that sales were falling back dramatically after an unexpected spike in June.
In the event they did ease off, but by only 0.3 per cent between June and July. But they were still 1.8 per cent higher than in July last year, according to National Statistics, which warned that onemonth growth rates can always be volatile.
Over the latest three months, seasonally adjusted volumes of sales were 0.7 per cent higher than in February/April.
Although this was the strongest three- monthly growth rate since last November, the improvement over May/July last year was only 1.3 per cent, the lowest annual gain for any threemonth period since February, 1999.
Within that, sales of household goods were 0.9 per cent down on those in the same three months last year, their biggest annual fall since December, 1992
NS noted that " a few retailers" did report falls in their sales due to the London bombings, but that it was impossible to measure the impact on the overall outcome for the month.
It estimated that the underlying growth in retail sales was on a gradual upward trend.
But Tim Sleep, head of retail at Ernst & Young, took the view that although the numbers were less bad than feared, the pattern is still one of sliding growth.
"The recent interest rate cut will offer some limited relief to retailers, but it is clearly not enough to reverse the sector's woes," he said. "Further action will be required."