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Non-food shop price decline eases in March

The decline in UK non-food shop prices has showed signs of slowing, after decreasing at a rate of 1.9% in March when compared with the previous year.

This compares with a 2.2% fall in non-food shop prices in February, according to the latest BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index.

However, overall shop price deflation across non-food and food deepened to a 1% year-on-year drop in March, compared with a 0.8% fall in February. This was mainly driven by a slowdown in food price inflation.

The BRC said total shop prices have remained in deflationary territory for 59 months, while the latest results signal the deepest deflation recorded since February 2017.

Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at Nielsen, noted: “Consumers are still coping with falling disposable incomes and non-food retailers are having to keep price increases to a minimum or make further price cuts, as consumer demand has been weak since the start of the year.”

Helen Dickinson, chief executive at the BRC, said: “Shop price deflation accelerated in March, driven by a substantial slowdown in food inflation, which reached its lowest rate for a year. As the impact of the pound’s depreciation one year on is beginning to fizzle out, retailers are passing the positive impact through to the shop floor.

“So some welcome respite for consumers, particularly with the gap between inflation and wage growth finally narrowing. But with further wage increases on the horizon putting upward pressure on prices, consumers will continue to feel the grip on their spending power.”

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