Retailers managed to scrape growth in June, as a promotion-led boost for clothing stores was overshadowed by a weather-hit performance from food outlets.
Retail sales volumes edged 0.1 per cent higher between May and June, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, which fell far short of City expectations of 0.6 per cent growth.
The figures came as a number of retailers revealed a difficult summer, with Mothercare, JJB Sports and Halfords all revealing dismal results.
The ONS believes the wettest June on record since 1910 was behind a 0.7 per cent drop in food sales in June, while clothing retailers saw sales jump 2.5 per cent as they brought forward their summer sales.
Against expectations, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations did not have a "significant impact" on sales.
The weak performance in retail will dash any hopes that the economy might have emerged from its double-dip recession in the second quarter, ahead of official growth figures next week.