Discounts among retailers in January pushed down price inflation in shops, a new survey shows. The shop price index from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen showed that overall inflation fell from 1.4% in January from 1.7% in December. Food inflation fell to 3.7% (December: 4.2%), while non-food inflation fell to zero (December: 0.3%). Stephen Robertson, BRC director general, said: “With the impact of the 2011 VAT rise finally gone from annual comparisons these figures show how retailers are holding down prices for customers despite a range of upward pressures. “Even though retailers are facing higher transport and property costs, overall non-food prices are exactly the same as a year ago. Within that, clothing, furniture and electricals were all cheaper than 12 months ago with the price of electrical goods falling at its fastest rate for three years. “Food price inflation continues to come down and is now the lowest it’s been since July 2010 thanks to discounting and cheaper commodity costs working through.” He added that the expected further falls in inflation in the coming months “should be a boost to customers’ budgets and, crucially, should help to improve consumer confidence”. “For there to be any significant improvement in retailers’ fortunes in the coming year it’s essential that people feel better about their personal finances and become more willing to spend.”