Shop price annual inflation eased to 0.8% in April and now stands at its lowest level since December 2021, according to the latest data from the BRC-NielsenIQ shop price index.

Overall retail inflation fell to 0.8% last month from 1.3% in March.

In particular, non-food entered deflation at –0.6% in April, down from inflation of 0.2% in the preceding month.

Non-food inflation is now at its lowest since October 2021.

Food inflation also decelerated to 3.4% in April, down from 3.7% in March. This marks the 12th consecutive deceleration in the food category and inflation in the sector is at its lowest since March 2022.

Fresh food inflation slowed further in April, to 2.4%, down from 2.6% in March and the lowest level since November 2021.

Ambient food inflation fell back to 4.9% in April, down from 5.2% in March and is the lowest since June 2022.

“One year on from the peak, shop price inflation levels are showing signs of normalising, providing relief to households,” said BRC CEO Helen Dickinson. “Both food and non-food have seen shop inflation rates ease to more manageable levels. In April, non-food prices fell, especially in clothing and footwear, where retailers ramped up promotions to encourage consumer spend. Food inflation slowed for the 12th consecutive month, as fresh products such as butter, fish and fruits continued to fall in price due to easing input costs and intense competition between grocers.

“While consumers will welcome the lower shop price inflation, geopolitical tensions and the knock-on impact on commodity prices, like oil, pose a threat to future price stability. Retailers will continue to do all they can to keep prices down, but government has a role to play with pro-growth policies that allow businesses to invest in the customer offer.”

Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight, NielsenIQ, said: “Whilst topline retail growth has slowed since in recent weeks as food inflation has fallen, it is good news for shoppers that the cost of their grocery shop is starting to stabilise and that the prices of many non-food goods are now cheaper than a year ago.

“To help shoppers manage household budgets, retailers continue to promote and this provides further savings and we expect this to continue to help drive overall demand.”

Morning update

FTSE 100 Coke bottler Coca-Cola HBC has had a “strong start” to 2024 and reiterated guidance this morning.

Organic volume grew 1.8%, driven by good performances in both emerging and developing markets.

Established markets saw organic revenues rise 5.1% led by pricing, with volumes impacted by tough comparatives.

Developing territories were up 12.5% with “encouraging improvement” in volumes, while emerging markets were up 19% driven by pricing and resilient volumes.

Sparkling volumes were stable, while energy and coffee delivered strong double-digit growth (up 37.3% and 34.3% respectively).

Organic revenue per case increased 10.6%, reflecting effective revenue growth management initiatives through the past 12 months.

“We have made a strong start to the year, with continued progress of our 24/7 strategy,” said CEO Zoran Bogdanovic. “Organic revenues grew by 12.6% led by our strategic priority categories of Sparkling, Energy and Coffee. We are also pleased to report another quarter of volume growth and market share gains.

“During the period, informed by data, insights and analytics, we have accelerated investment in our unique 24/7 portfolio and in our bespoke capabilities, with several new brand launches and targeted initiatives across our markets. This ensures our continued strong in-market execution, in close collaboration with our customers.

“Although we are mindful of the broader macroeconomic backdrop, we are confident in delivering our financial guidance in the year ahead and on making further progress against our medium-term growth targets.”

Household goods manufacturer McBride is trading “ahead of expectations” after a strong March and April due to high demand for its private label goods.

For the first nine months of the current financial year, overall volumes were 6.5% higher than the prior year, with private label volumes growing by 9.7%.

Group revenue was 8.2% higher than the prior year on a constant currency basis, benefiting from both volume growth and the impact of pricing actions in the last financial year to recover input cost inflation.

Input costs for chemicals and packaging remain elevated, with employment, general supplies and financing costs continuing to apply inflationary pressures.

There are early signals that certain materials will see price rises in second half of 2024, primarily in the more sustainable materials categories.

However, as a result of continuing strong trading performance, the group now anticipates that adjusted operating profit will be 10% ahead of current market expectations.

Danish brewing giant Carlsberg has post first quarter organic volume growth of 2% after a “solid” start to 2024.

Organic volume growth in Western Europe was a modest 0.2%, with Asia up 3.1% and Central & Eastern Europe and India (CEEI) up 2.2%.

Total premium beer category was up 8%, Beyond Beer down 1% and alcohol-free brews up 2%.

Its core brands drove growth, with Carlsberg volumes up 15% and Tuborg up 8%. 1664 Blanc was flat, Brooklyn down 1%, Grimbergen up 6% and Somersby down 4%.

Organic revenues were up 6.4% with revenue per hectalitre up 4% with positive contribution from all three regions.

Reported revenues were up 4.4% to DKK 17.1bn, impacted by currencies.

Group CEO Jacob Aarup-Andersen said: “We’ve had a solid start to the year with volume and revenue growth in all three regions. We’re particularly satisfied with the growth of our premium portfolio and the volume and revenue growth in Asia, both of which are important strategic growth drivers for the group. Q1 performance was in line with expectations, and we maintain our full-year earnings outlook.”

On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 is up another 0.3% to 8,172.2pts.

Risers include PayPoint, up 3.4% to 543p, Fever-Tree, up 2.9% to 1,143.9p and Tate & Lyle, up 2% to 655.1p.

Fallers include Naked Wines, down 3.8% to 49.3p, Ocado, down 2% to 348.3p and Bakkavor, down 2% to 117.1p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 edged up yet again yesterday, rising a further 0.1% to 8,147pts.

Risers yesterday included Kerry Group, up 4.2% to €82.00, Bakkavor, up 3.9% to 119.5p, DS Smith, up 3.4% to 351.6p, THG, up 2.9% to 65.8p, Pets at Home, up 2.6% to 294p and PZ Cussons, up 2.4% to 104p.

The day’s fallers included Naked Wines, down 4.8% to 51.3p, B&M European Value Retail, down 2.1% to 517p, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, down 1.2% to €66.60 and Haleon, down 0.9% to 331.3p.