Shop price inflation up almost double despite food ease-off

 
Ben Southwood
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SHOP price inflation almost doubled in February, despite an easing off in food price hikes.

The British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) measure of rises hitting shoppers rose from 0.6 per cent over the year to January to 1.1 per cent over the 12 months to February, it said this morning.

This came despite food inflation falling from four per cent to 3.5 per cent, a five month low, the BRC said, as non-food prices saw milder falls – drooping 0.4 per cent over 12 months, as opposed to the 1.4 per cent fall over the year to January.

“Food inflation continues to be volatile due to worldwide demand, harvests and commodity prices,” said Mike Watkins at Nielsen, which released the numbers in concert with the BRC.

Watkins predicted that non-food could go back into sharper decline if retailers went into a renewed flurry of discounting in the run up to Easter.

And BRC boss Helen Dickinson said it was this willingness to slash prices that generated February’s big jump in sales, shown by figures published yesterday.