Shop price inflation accelerated to 1.5% in October from 1.0% in September, as non-food prices remained stable, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) – Nielsen Shop Price Index.
Non-food prices were broadly flat in October after falling 0.2% in September.
Stephen Robertson, British Retail Consortium director general, said: “Overall shop price inflation is still low but pressure from food has edged it up.”
He continued: “No change in the price of non-food goods compared with a year ago shows how relentless discounting is. Great for customers who are able to spend but, as retail administrations show, tough for retailers struggling to make the sums add up.”
Deflation in the clothing and footwear category slowed to 3.8% from 4.8% in September, with footwear being the only category to report an acceleration in its deflation rate. The colder weather is likely to boost some retailers’ sales as consumers refresh their winter wardrobe. However, many purchases are promotion-led as discounting remains a key driver of sales in October due to the challenging economic climate.
Mike Watkins, senior manager of Retailer Services at Nielsen said: “With weakened demand, there is intense price competition across all retail channels, especially on discretionary items, and this is keeping inflation low.”
He added: “However, it’s difficult to predict the levels of retail sales in the run up to Christmas and, with cost price increases now being reflected in some food price inflation, this will inevitably make shoppers more cautious.”