Shop prices declined in September as non-food prices decreased and grocery inflation also eased to its lowest rate since April 2018.

Overall shop prices declined 0.6% in September, compared to a 0.4% decline in August.

According to the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index, non-food prices fell by 1.7% during the month, in comparison with a 1.5% fall in August, and marking the highest rate of decline since May 2018.

Grocery prices were also impacted, as food inflation eased to 1.1% in September compared with 1.6% in August, spurred by fresh food inflation halving month-on-month to 0.7% in September, also marking the lowest inflation rate since last March.

Ambient food inflation edged down to 1.7% in September, compared with 1.8% in August.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Shop prices fell by 0.6% on the previous year as low consumer demand and stiff competition continued to push down prices. Non-food prices fell to their lowest since May 2018 as the effects of the 2016 currency depreciation finished filtering through the economy.

“Food price inflation eased to a 17-month low reflecting both lower domestic prices for vegetables and lower global prices for meat.

“While consumers may welcome lower prices, falling consumer demand is squeezing retailers’ already tight margins. With business costs continuing to rise – including business rates, wage bills, and pension costs – the high street risks more big-name closures.”

Nielsen head of retailer and business insight Mike Watkins added: “With consumers feeling uncertain about spending, retailers continue to focus on limiting price increases coming through the supply chain. Prices have fallen in non-foods helped by seasonal reductions, and many food retailers have introduced price cuts to help regain momentum after a challenging summer.

“Competition for discretionary spend will intensify across all channels as we head towards the end of the year and we anticipate more promotional savings for shoppers and inspiring media campaigns that help to drive incremental sales.”