Heavy discounts on clothing helps lower shoppers’ costs

Ben Southwood
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SHOP PRICE inflation slowed down in September, data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen showed yesterday, driven by falling prices for non-food goods.

Overall, shop prices were up one per cent in September compared to the same month in 2011, whereas in August prices were up 1.1 per cent on the year before.

This slight slowing was driven by a small increase in the speed of non-food deflation – non-food prices were 0.2 per cent lower in September than a year before. The 3.1 per cent rise in food prices over the year was the same as seen in July.

“Falling prices for non-food goods and stable food inflation are slowing overall shop price rises,” said BRC boss Stephen Robertson.

“Food inflation remains at a two-year low for the third month running, despite inflationary pressures building up the supply chain from rises in global commodities such as wheat and soya beans,” Robertson added.

Mike Watkins, head of retail at Nielsen, called the relatively small changes “welcome stability”.

But the overall flat food figure actually masked some moves within different sub-categories. Fresh food inflation accelerated from 2.5 per cent in August to three per cent in September, while ambient food inflation retreated from four per cent to 3.2 per cent.

And the slow decline in non-food prices hid some sharper declines: clothing shops were still discounting heavily, driving clothing and footwear deflation to 4.8 per cent from 4.5 per cent. On the other hand prices in health and beauty were up 3.9 per cent on the year, while DIY, gardening and hardware prices climbed two per cent.