The rate of falling shop prices slowed in October as the inflation of ambient grocery products rose ahead of the 12-month average.

Shop price prices fell 0.4% year on year in October, behind a 0.6% fall in prices the previous month, according to the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index.

Shop prices fell in the month ahead of the 12-month average inflation of 0.2% and the six-month average of 0.2% price deflation.

Food price inflation accelerated 1.6% in October, ahead of a 1.1% rise in September, exacerbated by ambient food inflation rising to 2.7% in the month, ahead of 1.7% inflation in September and 2.3% and 2.2% price inflation for the 12- and six-month averages respectively.

By contrast, fresh food inflation edged up to 0.8% in October, ahead of the 0.7% year-on-year inflation rate in September.

Non-food price deflation also eased to 1.5% in October, behind a 1.7% decline in September. However, this decline was steeper than the average 12- and six-month price declines of 0.7% and 1.2% respectively.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Consumers continue to benefit from lower shop prices, with October being the fifth consecutive month of decline. Non-food prices have fallen well below the 12-month average, with greater discounting taking place as retailers seek to stimulate additional sales. The year has seen relatively weak sales and retailers hope that Black Friday and Christmas will reverse this trend with the help of lower prices.

“Rising global food prices and the higher oil prices from earlier this year will increase costs for retailers. These factors comes as the industry struggles with the burden of public policy costs, such as business rates, which is weighing heavily on the industry and keeping margins at record lows.”

Nielsen head of retailer and business insight Mike Watkins added: “With an uncertain economic outlook at the start of the golden quarter, the industry has been working hard to stimulate demand and to keep price increases as low as possible. Seasonal ranges are now in store, and we can expect an increase in promotional activity in the run up to Christmas, which will give shoppers further savings at the checkout.”