Discounting by UK retailers over the Christmas trading period pushed clothing and footwear prices down by 9.9% in December, although this fall was marginally less than the month before.

The latest Shop Price Index from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen found accelerating deflation in the clothing accessories and babywear categories in December was outweighed by slowing deflation in footwear, men's and women's clothing.

The December decline of 9.9% year-on-year compared with a drop of 10.1% in November.

On a month-on-month basis, clothing and footwear prices edged down 0.2% in December, following a 0.6% increase in November.

Discounting drove sales within the category over Christmas, according to the BRC, with a number of retailers using targeted events to entice consumers to spend.

"As expected, pent-up demand is beginning to have a positive impact on this category and should ease the pressure on retailer's margins in the coming months," the BRC noted. 

Overall UK shop prices fell for an eighth consecutive month in December, slowing to 0.8% from 0.3% in November - but marking the deepest level of deflation since December 2006.

Non-food reported annual deflation of 2.3% in December from 2% in November.

BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: "This is the deepest deflation rate since we started compiling the index in 2006, and the eighth consecutive month of falling shop prices.

"That's a double whammy of good news for cash-conscious customers, and confirms our predictions that retailers worked hard to help budgets go that bit further this Christmas."

While Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight, added: "With the continuation of price cuts and promotions across all of retailing and with many shoppers holding back on shopping to the last week, there will have been bargains and some great savings for the savvy Christmas shopper."