Consumer price inflation rose year-on-year to 3.4% in March compared to 3% in February, the Office for National Statistics reported.
Housing and household services were the main driver of the increase, but there were upwards pressures from retail categories ranging from food to DVDs.
The ONS said that prices of food and non-alcoholic drinks rose overall versus a fall a year ago, delivering a “large upward contribution”. Fruit and vegetable prices were mostly responsible as a result of the weather’s impact on supply.
Clothing and footwear prices were also responsible for a large upward contribution driven by women’s outerwear.
There was a “small” upward contribution from the recreation and culture category, particularly books and pre-recorded DVDs.
The only big downward pressure came from furniture, household equipment and maintenance. Although prices rose overall between February and March, the increase was less than a year ago.
The ONS said: “The main downward effects came from furniture and furnishings, household textiles, and major appliances and small electric goods.”
The RPI rate of inflation rose to 4.4% in March from 3.7% in February.