Grocers saw sales tumble in value last month as the polarisation in performance between food and non-food retailers continued. The latest survey by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG showed that like-for-like sales across the industry fell 0.3% against a much stronger performance a year earlier.
Furniture was the best performing category with its highest growth since January, but food fared worst with its deepest three-month average decline in sales since the BRC's records began in December 2008.
The 3.5% slump for food in the quarter to July came in the face of the supermarket price war as discounters continue to make inroads.
Non-food sales were 3.4% higher over the three months to July, in line with its average for the year of 3.8%.
KPMG head of retail David McCorquodale said: "While non-food retailers had a stellar month, surpassing even last year's record sales performance, the grocers saw sales tumble in value as their competitive pricing continued.
"The headache for the grocer investor is the tonic for the consumer.
"It's likely these price wars are here to stay for the foreseeable future."
Toys and baby equipment also grew strongly as firms benefited from discounting and good weather for outdoor toy sales.