Discounting was a key driver of clothing and footwear sales in February

Discounting was a key driver of clothing and footwear sales in February

Clothing and footwear prices continued to fall in February - with deflation not only accelerating during the month but also marking the longest sustained period of price declines.

The Shop Price Index from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen found clothing and footwear prices declined 12% year-on-year, from a fall of 9.9% in January.

All categories in clothing and footwear have now experienced deflation for six consecutive months. Discounting was a key driver of sales, with a number of retailers using targeted events to entice consumers to spend.

On a month-on-month basis, clothing and footwear prices rose 1.4% after a 5.3% fall in January.

Overall shop prices declined for a tenth consecutive month in February, accelerating to 1.4% from 1% in January - the deepest level of deflation since December 2006. Non-food reported annual deflation of 3%, up from 2.7% in January - the lowest ever recorded.

"There are especially good deals available at the moment in clothing, electricals, books and stationery," noted BRC director general Helen Dickinson. 

Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at Nielsen, added that the decline in the Shop Price Index is reflective of "a challenging trading environment due to weather and weak demand, but also more favourable global supply conditions during the second part of 2013".