UK inflation remains unchanged while furniture prices continue to ease in September

Furniture prices remained high during September but eased for a thirteenth straight month as overall inflation remained unchanged.

According to the latest Office for National for National Statistics (ONS) data, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose by 6.7% in the 12 months to September 2023, the same rate as in August. On a monthly basis, CPI rose by 0.5% in September 2023, the same rate as in September 2022.

Furniture and furnishing prices rose by 3.3% in September, down from 4.1% in August, while also declining from 13.7% compared to the same month last year. This marks the thirteenth consecutive month of easing price inflation and the lowest rate in well over a year.

The retail price of household furniture decreased to 3.4% in the month from a rise of 4.2%, while also down from 14.1% last year.

Garden furniture prices rose 5.1%, down from 5.8% on last month and down from 14.2% compared to last year.

Carpets and other floorcoverings prices increased 9.4%, up from 7.6% the previous month, while also up from a 7% rise last year.

Other household textile prices, including furnishings fabrics, curtains and bedding, saw prices rise by 4.7%, up from 4% the previous month, while also up from 4% on last year.

Meanwhile, Producer Price Inflation (PPI) saw the rate of furniture output prices, factory gate, rise 6.8% in September on the same month in 2022. The rate was the same from the rise of 6.8% in August.

Furniture input prices, material cost of production, were down 2.3% in September on the same month last year, up from a decline of 1.8% the previous month.

Producer input prices fell by 2.6% in the year to September 2023, down from a revised fall of 2.0% in the year to August 2023. Producer output (factory gate) prices fell by 0.1% in the year to September 2023, up from a revised fall of 0.5% in the year to August 2023. On a monthly basis, producer input prices and output prices both rose by 0.4% in September 2023.

Commenting on the inflation figures for September, ONS Chief Economist Grant Fitzner said: “After last month’s fall, annual inflation was unchanged in September. Food and non-alcoholic drinks prices eased again across a range of items with the cost of household appliances and airfares also falling this month.

“These were offset by rising prices for motor fuels and the cost of hotel stays. The annual rate of core inflation has slowed again this month, driven by a slowdown in the cost of many goods though services prices did rise a little this month.”

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, added: “While headline inflation remained at 6.7% inflation rates in retail, such as food, furniture and clothing, all eased. This reflects the fierce competition between retailers, their investment in cutting costs, and the fall in the price of some global commodities. These factors helped shoppers welcome the first fall in food prices in two years, as September prices dropped below those in August. Some of the biggest price cuts were seen on items such as cheese, margarine, pasta and chocolate. This will be particularly welcome at a time when households face rising heating costs as winter sets in.

“With the all-important Christmas period fast approaching, retailers hope that cost pressures continue to ease in the coming months. Unfortunately, the September CPI figures – which will determine how much business rates will increase in April 2024 – mean that retailers face a £470m-a-year increase from next year; this will inevitably put renewed pressure on consumer prices. As a result, retailers are publicly calling on the Chancellor to freeze the business rates multiplier, allowing them to keep driving down prices, and invest in new shops and jobs.”

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