Shoppers have been hit by the highest price rises in almost a decade as the cost of living soared over the past month, new data suggests.
Annual shop price inflation jumped from 0.8% in December to 1.5% in January – the highest rate since 2012 – according to the latest BRC-NielsenIQ shop price index.
In the same period, ambient food inflation jumped from 1.7% to 2.4% while overall food inflation rose from 2.4% to 2.7%.
Non-food inflation, which includes items such as fashion and furniture, rose to 0.9% in January compared to 0.2% in December.
The figures, compiled by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) trade association and research firm NielsenIQ, measured inflation across British retailers over the first week of January, assessing price changes for 500 commonly bought items.
Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive, said: “January saw shop price inflation nearly double, driven by a sharp rise in non-food inflation.
“In particular, furniture and flooring saw exceptionally high demand leading to increased prices as the rising oil costs made shipping more expensive.
“Food prices continue to rise, especially domestic produce which have been impacted by poor harvests, labor shortages, and rising global food prices.”
The jump in the cost of living is putting household budgets under pressure, with some having to choose between heating and eating.
Here are some resources available if you need help.
Citizens Advice is an independent charity offering free, confidential support with legal, consumer, housing, debt and other problems. its site Details what help is available and where your nearest bureau is, for face-to-face advice.
Helpline: 0800 144 8848 in England / 0800 702 2020 in Wales (open 09.00 – 17.00 Monday-Friday)
The Trussell Trust
The Trussell Trust supports a national network of more than 1,200 food banks, providing emergency food for free to those who need it. You can use it site to locate support wherever you live.
Helpline: 0808 208 2138 (open 09.00 – 17.00 Monday-Friday)
Turn2us is a national charity providing practical support to people who are struggling financially. its site includes a benefits calculator and details of schemes and grants in your area, including for energy and water bills.
Helpline: 0808 802 2000 (open 09.00 – 17.00 Monday-Friday)
Ms Dickinson also said this will directly affect the cost of living crisis, stating “it would be impossible to protect consumers from any future rises” in costs.
However, fresh food inflation slowed slightly from 3.0% in December to 2.9% in January, but is still above the 12-month and six-month average growth rates.
Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at NielsenIQ, said: “The surge in energy and travel costs is now impacting disposable incomes and is likely to dent consumer’s willingness to spend.
“NielsenIQ research this month shows nearly a half of all households are saying that their most important concern at the moment is the rising cost of living.”
Overall inflation rose to 5.4% in the 12 months to December, according to the consumer prices index.
Concerns about the soaring cost of living come ahead of expected energy bill hikes and increased National Insurance contributions from April.
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