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ONS data: Inflation soars to 10.4%

UK high street

UK inflation has spiked unexpectedly to 10.4% in February, up from 10.1% the previous month as the ongoing cost-of-living crisis continues to take hold across the UK.

Despite, this figure below from a 41-year high of 11.1% reported in October last year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), prices of clothing, footwear, food and drink prices contributed to the rise.

Prices of clothing and footwear increased from 6% in January this year to 8% last month, the data revealed.

Prices rose by 2.5% between January and February this year, compared with a gradual increase of 0.8% in the same period last year.

Commenting on the figures, British Retail Consortium CEO Helen Dickinson said: “While inflation is expected subside later this year, prices are likely to remain elevated as the higher costs throughout supply chains become baked in.

“Retailers are committed to doing everything they can to keep the price of essentials low through expanding value ranges and offering discounts for vulnerable groups.

“Against this backdrop, government must do more to limit one of the biggest drags to retail investment, which is oncoming regulatory burdens heading down the track, or risk a crash in business investment and further inflationary pressures.”

The data also revealed food inflation hit its highest rate since 1977 last month, increasing by 18.2%.

The BRC added that food remained one of the “strongest contributors to overall inflation”, attributing the high price of animal feed and fertiliser driving up the price of many staples, while the “weaker pound made importing products such as vegetables from Europe more expensive.”

“Food and non-alcoholic drink prices rose to their highest rate in over 45 years with particular increases for some salad and vegetable items as high energy costs and bad weather across parts of Europe led to shortages and rationing,” ONS chief economist Grant Fitzner concluded.

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