By Daniel Hunter
Shop prices fell by 1.9% in April, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
Despite a further 1.9% drop compared with April 2014, it marked a slowdown in deflation from March when shop prices were down 2.1%.
Despite the ongoing supermarket price war, food prices dropped by 0.9%, compared with 2.5% for non-food products.
BRC Director General, Helen Dickinson, said: “Prices in Britain’s shops continue to fall, this month by -1.9%. Food prices remained at their record low for a second consecutive month with both fresh and ambient food helping to keep prices down. This means that for five out of the last six months food prices have fallen. The falling prices of non-food goods slowed down very slightly, whilst offering up great deals in clothing, electricals, books, stationery, home entertainment, DIY, gardening and hardware. April saw the 24th consecutive month of falling shop prices and the 25th consecutive month of falling non-food prices. These trends help to illustrate how retail has helped the consumer keep the cost of living down in recent years.
“There’s evidence to show that around a third of grocery spend is now on promotions, helping millions of shoppers across the country enjoy the benefits of low prices and special offers together with advice from retailers on preventing food waste. Recent research has shown that, with the exception of fruit and vegetables, food prices in British supermarkets are on average seven per cent lower than the Eurozone average.
“Wider macro-economic data continues to be broadly positive. The consumer price index remains at zero, an historic low, while revised consumer confidence figures remain high. Retailers will begin to feel the effects of oil prices creeping up again but at their present level (roughly $66 a barrel) costs of production will be down. It helps too that staple commodities such as wheat, corn and soybean prices are somewhere between a quarter and a third lower than they were this time last year.
“This week sees a general election in the UK and it’s my hope that the next government note today’s figures as they’re indicative of an important story from the last few years. Despite the low margins in a fiercely competitive market retailers have kept prices down and in doing so made sure the public are able to see their wages go that little bit further during a difficult period. That help is set to continue.”