Inflation increased by 2.7% year-on-year in January for the fourth month in a row, the longest time which consumer price index growth has remained flat since records began in 1992.

Inflation fell 0.5% month-on-month dragged down by the clothing and footwear sector where prices fell by 5.4%, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Inflation moved upwards in alcohol and tobacco where prices grew 4.3% from December.

The retail price index inflation increased 3.3% in January.

Broker Shore Capital said concerns that food prices will increase due to rising prices across the supply chain have been offset by a weakness in sterling. The ONS said this is feeding through into the cost of imported goods, notably in fruit, vegetables and bread.

But analyst Darren Shirley said: “Rising food prices and the potential impact from a return to rising fuel costs suggest that pressure on consumer spending is likely to remain a feature of the UK retail scene through 2013.”