Fresh food price inflation rose by 0.9% last month, reversing three months of consecutive slowdown, according to the latest BRC-Nielsen shop price index.

However, overall shop price deflation held steady at 1.0% in April, with non-food prices decreasing by 2.2% compared to March when prices declined by 1.9%. 

Food inflation picked up in April with prices increasing by 1.0%, a higher rate than 0.4% in the previous month. The fresh food inflation rate rose from 0.3% in March, while ambient food inflation also accelerated to 1.2%, up from 0.6% in March.

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson OBE said: “Overall, shop prices continued to fall in April, representing the deepest period of deflation since February last year. The upward pressure on prices from the fall in the pound is weakening, leaving underlying commodity prices and strong competition for customers the key influences on inflation.

“Higher global commodity prices than last year pushed food price inflation upwards in April. On the other hand, non-food prices sunk further into deflation as retailers continue to respond to the squeeze on households’ discretionary spending by offering low and falling prices.”

Nielsen’s head of retailer and business insight Mike Watkins said: “With weak consumer demand, any success in sales performance is coming at the expense of retailer’s margins, with lower prices in non food and inflation now hovering around 1% in food stores.

“Recent industry data suggests poor footfall and with unseasonably cool weather punctuated by a brief hot spell, sales momentum has been hard to sustain. So whilst promotional activity continued after Easter, retailers are still keeping prices competitive to tempt shoppers back into store as consumers not yet feeling better off.”

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