The British Retail Consortium has claimed “the worst of food price inflation may be over” after new figures showed shop price inflation fell last month for the first time since the December’s VAT.

Shop price inflation dipped to 1.4%, according to BRC data, thanks to the first slowdown in food prices this year, Easter promotional activity and falling prices at fashion and footwear retailers.

The rate, down from 2% in March, is now at its lowest since January.

Food price inflation stood at 7.9% year-on-year – down from the 9% rate recorded in March. Non-food prices, meanwhile, were down by 1.9% – the fifth consecutive month to show a reduction.

“There's some good news about prices in these figures,” said BRC director general Stephen Robertson. “With food cheaper than a month ago, the worst of food price inflation may be over, thanks to a more stable value for the pound.”

“But rising farm gate prices for meat and some vegetables are the main factors working against retailers' attempts to keep overall shopping bills down.”

He added: “Heavy discounting left non-food goods nearly 2% cheaper than a year ago and annual food inflation has slowed for the first time this year.”