LONDON (Reuters) - Growth in British retail sales eased slightly in August after a bumper July, but demand for furniture helped to sustain the momentum, industry data showed on Tuesday.
The British Retail Consortium said the total value of retail sales was 3.6 percent higher in August than a year ago, compared with 3.9 percent annual growth the previous month, which was the best July since 2006.
Like-for-like sales, which strip out changes in floor space as retailers open and close outlets, rose 1.8 percent on the year, compared with 2.2 percent in July.
The survey suggested Britons are feeling more confident about committing to big purchases, citing rising sales of furniture and flooring.
"This is a solid performance by retailers and demonstrates that confidence is slowly but surely returning to the UK's high streets," said David McCorquodale, head of retail at accountants KPMG.
While less exuberant than July's survey, which may have been exaggerated by one-off factors, the BRC's figures added to evidence the economic recovery is becoming increasingly broad-based.
The run of positive data poses a challenge for members of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, whose plans for future policy hinge on a cautious outlook for growth.
They decide policy on Thursday, and economists polled by Reuters expect no change.
Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by Hugh Lawson