Retail sales have risen for the first time in five months, according to the CBI's latest monthly distributive trades survey (release).
Reported sales grew to 17 in July from 1 previous, beating analyst estimates of a rise to 10.
The survey of 60 retailers saw year-on-year high street sales this month grow at a stronger pace than expected, after a flat first half of 2013 - the first rise since February.
But overall sales volumes remained below average for the time of year and sales growth is expected to ease back slightly in August.
Stephen Gifford, CBI director of economics, said:
The feel-good factor from the heatwave and early summer sales has helped boost high street sales, after a very weak start to the year.
Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist, IHS Global Insight:
While retail sales were seemingly healthy in July, there are still significant uncertainties about the prospects for consumer spending going forward. Indeed, it is notable that the CBI reported that overall sales volumes were still generally considered by retailers to be below average for July while a reasonable but unspectacular balance of +10% of retailers expect sales volumes to be up year-on-year in August.