UK clothing prices suffered a historic decline of 7.7% in January as retailers slashed prices amid falling demand.

According to the monthly BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index, the fall – the deepest since the index began more than six years ago – was the main contributory factor behind a 1.4% decline in non-food prices in January, following broadly flat figures in December.

That led to overall shop price inflation falling to 0.6% from 1.5% in December, the lowest figure since November 2009.

“The significant year-on-year fall in non-food prices was driven by cheaper clothing and electricals,” said Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

“Promotions were not as widespread as last year, a higher proportion of goods was sold at full price, boosting sales figures but, where discounts were applied, they were deeper.”

She added: “Weak demand for clothing necessitated big price cuts…But clothing suffered its worst sales fall since last Easter.”

The most significant downward pressure on pricing came from clothing accessories, children's wear and women's wear, with footwear and men's wear also providing some downward pressure, the BRC said.

Sharp falls in pricing were driven by discounting remaining winter stock to make room for spring/summer collections – but deflation is likely to slow during February as these promotions come to an end.