Increasing costs for grocery retailers forced inflation in food prices up to a six-month high of 9 per cent in February.

Overall shop price inflation rose to 1.9 per cent in February compared to the same period in 2008, an increase of 0.9 per cent on January’s like for like growth.

The British Retail Consortium, which published the figures today, said that the rise in shop prices was attributable to the fall in the value of the pound over the last two months and higher farmgate costs for grocery retailers.

Prices in the food sector grew by 9 per cent in February compared to last year, and increase of 2 per cent on January’s growth rate.

But non-food inflation was down 1.7 per cent compared to February 2008’s growth, slightly lower than January’s fall.

BRC director-general Stephen Robertson said: “Increasing farmgate prices for fresh meat drove food inflation to its highest rate since September. The weak pound has made UK produce more attractive for overseas buyers, restricting supplies at home and pushing prices up.

“Non-food goods, especially electricals, continued to be cheaper than a year ago but prices fell more slowly as exchange rates increased the cost of imports and some discounts ended. But overall shop price inflation is still half its peak of last year.”