The UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released data that shows the volume of retail sales in the country dropped 2.5% between June and July.

Sales volumes were 5.8% higher last month compared with last February, prior to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the retail industry.

During July 2021, sales volumes of food and non-food stores fell by 1.5% and 4.4%, respectively.

Automotive fuel also experienced the first monthly fall since February this year, with sales volumes dropping by 2.9% over the month.

This was impacted by heavy rainfall in early July that disrupted road traffic volumes. Sales are now 6.7% below pre-pandemic levels in last February.

Meanwhile, online retail sales increased to 27.9% in July from 27.1% in June.

The ONS data also showed retail sales volumes over the last three months increased by 11.1% compared with a year earlier.

In July, volumes were 2.4% higher than the same period last year.

Both clothing and household goods stores reported a monthly decrease in sales volumes of 2.0% in July. Department stores reported monthly growth of 0.2%.

Non-store retailers reported a 0.5% monthly increase during the month and sales volumes were 40.4% higher than last February.

Earlier this month, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) reported that sales increased by 6.4% in July compared to 3.2% growth in the same month last year.

This figure is below the three-month average growth of 14.7%.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson OBE said: “July continued to see strong sales, although growth has started to slow. The lifting of restrictions did not bring the anticipated in-store boost, with the wet weather leaving consumers reluctant to visit shopping destinations.”