Clothing and footwear prices fell in stores last month, down 5.4% on the previous April.
However, prices crept up 0.1% compared with the previous month, the British Retail Consortium (BRC)-Nielsen Shop Price Index shows.
Overall shop prices reported deflation of 0.5% in April from the 0.8% fall in March, which was the shallowest deflation rate since November 2013.
Non-food deflation decelerated to 1.4% from the 2.0% decline in March.
“This month’s figures mark the four-year anniversary of falling shop prices as competition in the industry continues to keep a lid on prices for consumers,” said BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson. “Nevertheless, the rate of deflation has been decelerating month on month as retailers battle with inflationary pressures resulting from the impact of the weaker pound on input prices.”
She added that the BRC expects price rises to play out over the course of the year.
“With the squeeze on household incomes tightening, the retail industry expects plans from the next government that puts consumers first in the Brexit negotiations, ensuring that ordinary shoppers are protected from the cost of unwanted new tariffs,” she said.
Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at Nielsen, explained that retailers are cautious about passing on cost price increases as shoppers are already seeing inflation in travel, fuel and spending away from home.
“So there continues to be deflation in shop prices albeit we are already seeing inflation in food,” he said. “In the non-food channel and with a late Easter there was a need to stimulate demand and clear stock in readiness for summer ranges, and seasonal promotions also kept prices low as retailers looked to increase footfall and maintain consumer spend.”