Retail sales grew at their slowest pace since November, hit by the recent bad weather and rising interest rates, according to the British Retail Consortium.

UK retail sales rose 1.2% on a like-for-like basis, compared with July 2006, when sales were up 3.4%, the BRC's monthly sales data found.

"The combination of a tightening squeeze on consumer spending and heavy rainfall reduced like-for-like sales growth to a level not seen since last November, despite heavy discounting and falling retail inflation,” said Kevin Hawkins, director general of the BRC.

“Given these conditions, the Bank of England should now wait and see what happens over the next few months before doing anything further with interest rates.”