Inflation down as food'¨ and oil prices fall, but'¨pressures point upward

Shoppers enjoyed falling prices last month as the cost of food hit a record low and retailers continued to roll out discounts, a report has revealed.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 5th September 2016, 12:01 am
Updated Monday, 5th September 2016, 10:21 am
Shoppers enjoyed falling prices last month   Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Shoppers enjoyed falling prices last month Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC)-Nielsen study recorded overall shop price deflation of two per cent in August, compared to a 1.6 per cent decline the month before.

The slide in prices was triggered by more promotions from retailers coupled with a drop in the cost of oil, according to the shop price index.

Food price deflation also accelerated to a record low of 1.1 per cent in August, compared to 0.8 per cent in the previous two months, as a global supply glut of wheat weighed on prices.

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Non-food deflation also hit 2.5 per cent last month from 2.2 per cent in July.

The report said that retailers had yet to feel the full force of the rising costs caused by the plunge in the value of the pound following the Brexit vote.

However, Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said prices are expected to rise in the coming months when costs are passed down to consumers.

“The devaluation of sterling in wake of the referendum will put upward pressure on shop prices.

“But that’s likely to take several months to properly feed through, given that retailers won’t feel the brunt of the cost increases until existing contracts with foreign suppliers come to an end.

“Even then, retailers will have to make a decision about when and how much to pass onto consumers.

“Given the strength of competition in the market, and if the economy softens in line with predictions, any pass through may be more limited than implied by the exchange rate movement.”