Sales of seasonal food such as barbecue products, ice cream, fresh produce and soft drinks benefited from the hot weather in July, according to the British Retail Consortium-KPMG Sales Monitor.

Retail sales rose by 5.5% in July, or 2.6% on a like-for-like basis, compared with the same period in 2002. However the figures, which are to August 2, do not include the impact of the very hot weather that the UK has experienced over the last two weeks. “Fresh produce, wines, beers, soft drinks, ice cream and anything for the barbecue flew out of the store,” said KPMG head of retail Amanda Aldridge.

BRC director general Bill Moyes said: “In other parts of the industry customers have sunbathed rather than shopped.”