UK inflation notably down as furniture prices ease again in April

Furniture prices remained high during April but eased for an eighth straight month as overall inflation was notably down.

According to the latest Office for National for National Statistics (ONS) data, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose by 8.7% in the 12 months to April 2023, down from 10.1% in March. On a monthly basis, CPI rose by 1.2% in April 2023, compared with a rise of 2.5% in April 2022.

Furniture and furnishing prices rose by 8.3% in April, down from 9.2% in March, while also declining from 16.3% compared to the same month last year. This marks the eighth consecutive month of easing price inflation and the lowest rate in well over a year.

The retail price of household furniture decreased to 8.6% in the month from a rise of 9.6%, while also down from 16.5% last year.

Garden furniture prices rose 4.5%, down from 9.8% on last month and from 32.8% compared to last year.

Carpets and other floorcoverings prices increased 9%, down from 10.3% the previous month, while remaining static from the 9% rise last year.

Other household textile prices, including furnishings fabrics, curtains and bedding, saw prices rise by 6.4%, up from 2.6% the previous month, as well as rising from 4.2% on last year.

Meanwhile, Producer Price Inflation (PPI) saw the rate of furniture output prices, factory gate, rise 10.4% in April on the same month in 2022. The rate was slightly lower from a rise of 10.6% in March.

Furniture input prices, material cost of production, were up 2.1% in April on the same month last year, while declining from a rise of 5.5% the previous month.

Producer input prices rose by 3.9% in the year to April 2023, down from 7.3% in the year to March 2023. Producer output (factory gate) prices rose by 5.4% in the year to April 2023, down from 8.5% in the year to March 2023. On a monthly basis, producer input prices fell by 0.3% while output prices showed no movement in aggregate in April 2023.

Commenting on the inflation figures for April, ONS Chief Economist Grant Fitzner said: “The rate of inflation fell notably as the large energy price rises seen last year were not repeated this April, but was offset partially by increases in the cost of second-hand cars and cigarettes. However, prices in general remain substantially higher than they were this time last year, with annual food price inflation near historic highs.”

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, added: “Consumers will welcome the fall in headline inflation, and while food inflation figures remain high, we are starting to see the price of some essentials begin to come down, including milk and butter, as lower commodity and energy prices begin to filter through. Clothing and Footwear price inflation also eased for the second month in a row as retailers introduced their Spring discounts. However, even as inflation eases consumers should not expect prices to return to their 2021 levels.

“With food inflation looking like it may be peaking, government should avoid creating unnecessary new regulatory burdens that might put this at risk. From new packaging costs and a deposit return scheme, to new Windsor framework labelling and food advertising regulations, the Government would do well to minimise the cost-impact of new policy initiatives.”

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