Shop prices fell again in April, driven by non-food, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) – Nielsen Shop Price Index.
Deflation slowed to 1.4% in April, compared with 1.7% in March.
Food inflation slowed to 0.7% compared with 0.8% in March. Food inflation is now at its lowest level since the monitor started in December 2006. Non-food prices fell 2.7% in April, a slowing from the 3.2% fall in March – also the lowest ever recorded.
British Retail Consortium director general Helen Dickinson said: “Hard-pressed families mindful of budgets in the run up to Easter break have been helped by the lowest level of food inflation since BRC records began in December 2006. Customers benefitted from prices and promotions in their local supermarket as they stocked up for the Easter holidays.”
Within food, fresh food inflation fell for the third consecutive month to 0.4%, from 0.6% in March, representing the lowest level of inflation since June 2010. Downward pressure came from the fish and vegetables categories, which both reported deflation. Upward pressure came from the oils and fats, milk, cheese and eggs, meat, fruit and convenience food categories, all reporting inflation above the overall fresh food category.
The rate of inflation within the ambient food category increased from 1% to 1.1% in April. Bread and cereal entered deflationary territory in April.
In non-food, clothing and footwear reported its first deceleration in deflation for three months, reaching 11.3% from 12.3% in March. Deflation in the children’s clothing and women’s clothing categories were above the overall rate in April. Discounting was a key driver of sales within this category, with a number of retailers using targeted events to entice customers.
Dickinson added: “Retailers will continue to respond to cost conscious consumers by keeping prices down. We’ve also seen some excellent deals in clothing and footwear, electrical, furniture and flooring. After a rise at the beginning of the year a more positive outlook for commodity prices should mean prices remain stable in the coming months. With food retailers continuing to keep prices down and stable commodity prices ahead, customers will benefit for the foreseeable future.”