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Wednesday April 17 2024

Cheaper food helps shop price inflation drop to lowest level

2 April 2024 23:57 (UTC+04:00)
Cheaper food helps shop price inflation drop to lowest level

Shop price inflation has eased to its lowest rate since December 2021 helped by food is cheaper and shops trying to beat each other by offering reduced prices, the latest figures show.

Shop prices were 1.3% higher than a year ago in March, which is less than February's 2.5% rises and below the average of 2.2% over three months, says the British Retail Consortium (BRC)-NielsenIQ Shop Price Index. Food costs overall were up by 3.7% from last year, but that's down from 5% in February.

This is the 10th consecutive month of slowing inflation for the category and its lowest since April 2022. The cost of fresh food went up even slower, at 2.6% instead of 3.4% the month before.

Prices for non-food items increased by 0.2% in March, dropping from 1.3% in February, and that's the smallest rise since January 2022. Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: "While Easter treats were more expensive than in previous years due to high global cocoa and sugar prices, retailers provided cracking deals on popular chocolates, which led to price falls compared to the previous month."

"Dairy prices also fell on the month as farmgate prices eased, and retailers worked hard to lower prices for many essentials. In non-food, prices of electricals, clothing and footwear fell as retailers increased promotions to entice consumer spending."

Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at NielsenIQ, said: "The slowdown in inflation continues and a key driver this month was a further fall in food prices. A year ago, food inflation was 15% so this was to be expected."

"But it is also helped by intense competition amongst the supermarkets as they look to drive footfall, with focused price cuts and promotional offers earlier in the month for Mother's Day and now again in the weeks leading up to Easter."

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