Food inflation reaches another record high
Shop price inflation eased back slightly from record highs last month despite another surge in food prices.
Food prices soared 15.7%, the highest on record, in April to continue pressure on consumer finances, according to the latest BRC-NielsenIQ shop price index.
However, spring discounting at fashion and furniture stores meant wider retail inflation slowed for the month.
The fresh figures reported shop price inflation of 8.8% in April against the same month a year earlier, easing slightly from 8.9% in March.
It came as non-food stores recorded inflation of 5.5% for the month, slipping from 5.9% in March as shops reduced prices in a bid to attract customers.
This fall offset the jump in food inflation to 15.7% from 15% in March.
Fresh food prices increased by a record 17.8% year-on-year for the month, while the price of ambient products, such as tinned goods and other store-cupboard items, increased 12.9%.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said: “Overall shop price inflation eased slightly in April due to heavy spring discounting in clothing, footwear, and furniture.
“However, food prices remained elevated given ongoing cost pressures throughout the supply chain.
“The knock-on effect from increased production and packaging costs meant that ready meals became more expensive and coffee prices were also up due to the high cost of coffee beans, as well as key producer nations exporting less.
“Meanwhile, the price of butter and vegetable oils started to come down as retailers passed on cost savings from further up the supply chain.”
Mr Dickinson added that shoppers “should start to see food prices come down in the coming months” amid reductions in wholesale prices and other costs.
Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at NielsenIQ, said: “In recent weeks, more retailers have used loyalty schemes or money off promotions to help stimulate sales.
“However, with inflation yet to peak and sales volumes in decline in many channels, it’s difficult to second guess the strength of consumer confidence.”
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