Shop price inflation increased to 2.2% in October, up from 1.9% in September, making it the highest rate since January.

Food inflation jumped to 4.4% last month, compared with 4% in September.

Non-food inflation increased from 0.7% in September to 1.1% in October, according to the British Retail Consortium-Nielsen Shop Price Index.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: “Shop prices are rising but retailers are shielding customers from the full impact of the increasing commodity costs that are causing that inflation. 

 “Wheat is up 47 per cent compared with a year ago, affecting the price of staples such as bread - and some meat products, as feed costs work their way up the supply chain. 

“Cotton has risen 90 per cent over the last 12 months yet inflation in the non-food sector continues to be low, indeed allowing for the VAT rise since this time last year it’s actually negative.

Weak consumer confidence and a sluggish housing market mean retailers are competing even more fiercely for the limited discretionary spending available. That situation is unlikely to change in the run up to Christmas, with retailers clamouring to win the attention of cash-strapped consumers through discounting and promotions.”

Food inflation rose in September “as rising commodity prices showed little sign of easing”.

Non-food prices increased in September, “driven primarily by books, stationery and home entertainment”. Clothing and footwear prices remained unchanged while stationery “edged up”.