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Clothing prices take biggest tumble on record

Clothing prices fell 7.7% in January compared to the year before, the biggest drop in the six years of the BRC – Nielsen Shop Price Index survey.

Prices for non-food items fell 1.4% in January after being broadly flat in December, as the cost of clothing fell.

Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium, said that a “weak demand for clothing necessitated big price cuts”.

Overall shop price inflation fell to 0.6% in January from 1.5% in December. The drop signals the lowest shop price inflation since November 2009 when it was 0.2%.

Dickinson said: “The significant year-on-year fall in non-food prices was driven by cheaper clothing and electricals. Promotions were not as widespread as last year, a higher proportion of goods were sold at full price boosting sales figures but, where discounts were applied, they were deeper.

“Offers are common at this time of year, as retailers clear stock to make way for spring and summer ranges, but we’ve not seen non-food fall this quickly since September 2009.”

Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at Nielsen added: “With the traditional high street January Sales being replaced by year-round discounting, it`s no surprise to see a continuation of deflation in non-food, particularly in clothing and footwear where half-price reductions have been used to attract shoppers post-Christmas.” 

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