IGD: food and drink prices contribute to slight inflation fall

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The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure of inflation fell to 5.0% in October from 5.2% in September, official figures showed today. The headline rate of Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation fell to 5.4% in October from 5.6% in September, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Commenting on today’s inflation figures, IGD’s chief economist James Walton said: “Shoppers are sure to welcome today’s announcement the official rate of inflation – the CPI – slowed slightly in October. 

“Food and drink prices have contributed to this slowdown, with most items (except fish) becoming slightly cheaper over recent weeks.

“Much of this may be due to price falls on global markets, which reflect economic uncertainty and an easing of global demand. The UK imports about one third of all food consumed; recent studies by DEFRA show that global markets play by far the biggest part in determining the prices paid by UK shoppers, although the interplay between global and local markets is very complex.

“IGD’s ShopperTrack research, speaking to 1,000 shoppers every month, shows 84% of shoppers now use price as a factor when deciding which grocery store to shop at – the highest level for a year.

“Shoppers are also using more different types of grocery store in order to maximise their value for money when buying groceries – the average number of store types (eg: hypermarkets, discounters, online) used in the last month was 3.3 up from 3.1 in the same month in 2010. Again the highest recorded over the last year by IGD ShopperTrack.

“Online shopping in particular has seen increased usage, partly due to improvements in service and quality, but partly also because shoppers use these outlets as a response to high fuel prices.

“Looking ahead, shoppers continue to express concern over pricing issues: 87% expect further grocery price increases over the next year and so “smart shopping” (ie: switching between different stores and products, using promotions) will be a key defensive strategy.”