The index found September shop prices fell by 0.6% compared with a 0.4% decrease in August. This is the highest rate of decline since May 2018. Non-Food prices were the hardest hit as shop prices fell by 1.7% in September compared with August’s decrease of 1.5%.
In addition, Food inflation eased to 1.1% in September from 1.6% in August. It is the lowest inflation rate since April 2018, with fresh food inflation also found to have halved in September to 0.7%.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC said: “Shop prices fell by 0.6% on the previous year as low consumer demand and stiff competition continued to push down prices. Non-food prices fell to their lowest since May 2018 as the effects of the 2016 currency depreciation finished filtering through the economy.
“Food price inflation eased to a 17-month low reflecting both lower domestic prices for vegetables and lower global prices for meat. While consumers may welcome lower prices, falling consumer demand is squeezing retailers’ already tight margins. With business costs continuing to rise – including business rates, wage bills, and pension costs – the high street risks more big name closures.”
She added: “Reform of business rates remains the most effective way [the] Government can support the retail industry – and they should grasp the opportunity with both hands.”