Driven by food costs, shop prices rise at their fastest rate in 10 years

It will come as unwelcome news to families already struggling with inflation, higher energy prices and national insurance contributions, said the head of the British Retail Consortium.

Shop prices rose at their fastest rate in over a decade last month, new figures show.

Retail price annual inflation accelerated to 1.8% in February, up from 1.5% in January - the

highest rate of inflation since November 2011, according to the BRC-NielsenIQ Shop Price Index.

Rapidly rising food prices, particularly for fresh produce - which has been impacted by poor harvests globally, remained the key driver behind inflated prices.

"Price rises will be unwelcome news for households who already face falling disposable income because of the rise in national insurance and energy price caps," said Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium.

"Retailers continue to face cost pressures from higher shipping rates, with crude oil prices having almost doubled over the last year.

"Other pressures include labour shortages, commodity price increases, and rising energy prices."

While food inflation remained unchanged at 2.7% in February, it remains above the 12 and six-month average price growth rates of 0.7% and 1.6% respectively and is at its highest rate since September 2013.

Ms Dickinson said: "Retailers are going to great lengths to mitigate against these price rises and support their customers, for example many supermarkets have expanded their value ranges for food. Unfortunately, there are limits to the costs that retailers can absorb."

Inflation hit 5.5% in January, its highest rate since March 1992, as the cost of living in Britain continued to surge, official figures show.

Source: Sky News