In wholesaling the figures were less encouraging. Comparing July with a year ago, 42% of wholesalers said the volume of trade was lower and 31% said it was higher, giving a balance of -11%. This was notably lower than the +26% figure expected last month.
Wholesalers also expect the volume of sales next month to be lower than a year ago (a balance of -18%).
Lai Wah Co, CBI Head of Economic Analysis, said: "High street sales have performed well this month, with growth better than retailers predicted. Annual summer discounts and warm weather helped lift sales of clothing, while grocers and durable household goods retailers appear to have benefitted from a World Cup boost to sales of food, drink and new televisions."
Looking to August, a balance of +45% of retailers expect a higher volume of sales next month - the most positive figure since June 2004 (+46%).
The July Distributive Trades Survey was conducted between 23 June and 14 July, and covered 131 companies.
He said: "Retailers are optimistic that strong sales growth will continue next month, which is promising. We still expect the recovery in overall consumer spending to be fairly restrained, however, given concerns about the impact of public spending cuts and weak prospects for real take-home pay in the coming year."