Food prices have continued to soar. Inflation in February reached its highest level since December 2006.

Annual shop inflation was 1.3 per cent higher year on year in February and up from 1.2 per cent in January, according to the BRC-Nielson Shop Price Index. The increase was driven by food inflation, which rose 4.6 per cent compared with a year ago.

In non-food, there was shop price deflation of 0.3 per cent compared with last year. Clothing, footwear and electricals experienced the highest deflation.

London shop prices were up 2.5 per cent compared with a year ago for the second month in a row. The increase marked the lowest level of inflation in the city since June last year.

BRC director-general Stephen Robertson said: “For the 15th month in a row, non-food prices have been lower than a year ago and there are no signs that this trend is going to change. Retailers are suffering the effects of some unavoidable rising costs, such as higher global commodity prices, but are doing everything they can to shield their customers from these rises.”