Aug 17, 4:49 AM EDT

UK retail sales grow by a modest 0.3 percent in July


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LONDON (AP) -- Official figures show that retail sales in Britain rose by a solid if unspectacular 0.3 percent in July from the month before.

The increase was half the rate recorded in June but slightly ahead of market expectations for a 0.2 percent rise.

The Office for National Statistics said Thursday that strong food sales were largely behind the monthly increase.

Senior statistician Ole Black said trends in growth in different sectors are "proving quite volatile."

Retail sales have been relatively soft this year as consumer prices have risen. However, there are hopes they may soon be buoyed by a pick-up in wages and signs that inflation may have peaked.

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