However, retailers were robbed of the potential of an August boom by the bad weather.
Food and drink sales were up 1.5% year on year in August, according to the results from the BRC, compared to a 0.6% fall across retail as a whole.
The survey also suggests the riots were not widespread or prolonged enough to have had a significant impact, with poor consumer confidence, high inflation and the on-going squeeze on personal finances far bigger threats.
“It remains a tale of two halves. The food sector has proved more resilient but non-food retail showed a marked decrease in sales year-on-year,” said BRC director general Stephen Robertson,
Chief executive of IGD, Joanne Denney-Finch, said: “August’s food and drink sales had a good start, but tailed off as the month progressed. The coolest summer for nearly 20 years and faltering global stock markets dented shopper confidence.”