Food price inflation has slowed for the first time this year leading to lower shop price inflation of 1.4 per cent in April compared to 2 per cent in March.

According to the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index, annual food inflation was down to 7.9 per cent in April compared to 9 per cent in March.

Non-food was 1.9 per cent lower than a year ago compared with 1.5 per cent lower in March.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: “There’s some good news about prices in these figures. Heavy discounting left non-food goods nearly two per cent cheaper than a year ago and annual food inflation has slowed for the first time this year.”

He added: “With food cheaper than a month ago, the worst of food price inflation may be over, thanks to a more stable value for the pound but rising farmgate prices for meat and some vegetables are the main factors working against retailers’ attempts to keep overall shopping bills down.”        

Heavy discounting across the fashion market led to the deflation of clothing and footwear of 7.1 per cent in April compared with 4.9 per cent in March, the largest annual drop since the Index began in 2006.