Shop prices in the UK saw a 1.7% decline in April compared to a 0.8% drop last month, the latest data from the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index has revealed.
This decline is below the 12- and six-month average price drop of 0.4% and 0.7% respectively, and the highest since January 2017.
The price of non-food items dropped sharply by 3.7% in April compared to a decline of 1.9% in March, the lowest since December 2006.
This fall in prices is below the 12-and six-month average price declines of 1.6% and 2.0%, respectively.
Food inflation accelerated to 1.8%, up from 1.1% in March, registering the highest inflation rate since June 2019.
Chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, Helen Dickinson, commented, "Food retailers offered fewer promotions this April as they worked to discourage the consumer stockpiling of the previous month, pushing food inflation slightly above average.
"In contrast, some non-food sectors, particularly clothing and footwear and furniture, were hard hit, as discretionary spending evaporated, resulting in deep price cuts."
Fresh food inflation accelerated to 1.0% from 0.4% in March, while ambient food inflation accelerated to 3.0% from 2.0%.
'Supply Chain Constraints'
Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at Nielsen, added, "Across the supermarkets, there has been a reduction in promotions to help availability as well as some supply chain constraints, which has led to a small increase in shop prices, primarily in ambient foods.
"With such a significant disruption to shopping behaviour, the industry continues to do a marvellous job in helping to feed the nation in these difficult times."
Dickinson added that retailers operating during the crisis face rising costs from implementing social distancing measures, protective equipment and rising import prices.
"With the UK facing months of economic uncertainty and the prospect of rising job losses, many customers have cut right back on spending. A speedy economic recovery is key to rebuilding consumer confidence, but businesses cannot do it alone," she said.
"The Government has demonstrated great support for the industry and they must be ready to take measures to revive consumer demand after lockdown has lifted."
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Dayeeta Das. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.