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Clothing and footwear prices deflation accelerates

Clothing and footwear prices fell in March, in what was the category’s highest rate of deflation since June 2009, according to the latest British Retail Consortium figures.

Prices in the category fell by 1.5% on a month-on-month basis, the largest monthly fall since July 2011, and by 6.5% on last year.

According to the report, the children’s and women’s clothing and accessories categories exerted downward pressure on the overall category. In addition, the continuing falls in clothing prices were driven by wide-spread discounts and promotions, as well as declining cotton prices, which are currently down 55% on a year ago.

“Weak demand for many goods means retailers continue to battle hard for consumer spending by keeping prices down wherever possible,” explained Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC.

The wider non-food category also reported deflation, for the second consecutive month, accelerating to 0.9% from 0.7% in February. Overall, UK shop price inflation was up in March, at 1.5%, from 1.2% in February, after falling for five consecutive months.

A large threat to many non-food retailers was the slower than expected pace at which overall inflation is falling, the report stated, which “may delay the improvements in consumers’ disposable incomes, which were expected in the third quarter of this year”.

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