Ongoing concerns about financial security and squeezed incomes are making people reluctant to spend money in the current climate, it has been claimed.
According to Stephen Robertson, director general of the British Retail Consortium, the lack of willingness among consumers to part with their cash is forcing retailers to take action.
He said: "Early summer sales seem to have provided a badly needed boost for household goods, clothing and footwear.
"This is yet more evidence of the levels of discounting retailers are having to offer to tempt reluctant shoppers through their doors at a time of low consumer confidence and shrinking disposable income."
The Office for National Statistics this week revealed that a 0.3% rise in the value of retail sales was seen in June, compared to the previous month.
However, Mr Robertson described this finding as being "better but still not great".