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RPI/CPI - Inflation up to 4.4 percent

With the January Sales now a distant memory for retailers and summer product now hitting stores, inflation continued to rise in February, with the CPI annual inflation rate up to 4.4% for the month, from 4% in January.

A rise in domestic heating costs and clothing & footwear were two of the biggest causes for the rise.

For clothing & footwear prices rose by 3.6% in January which was a record movement and compared with a 2% rise a year ago.

The prices of alcoholic drinks and tobacco fell by a record monthly fall of 1.1% but followed a record monthly rise of 4.6% last month for the period between December 2010 and the first month of the new year.

RPI annual inflation for the year to February rose to 5.5% up from 5.1% last month.

UK inflation rates continued to outstrip the provisional figure for the European Union – a long term trend that shows no sign of abating. The UK rate was 4.0 per cent compared to the EU’s 2.8%.

Retailers and consumers alike will be awaiting the news from the Budget (23 March) which is likely to impact the Office of National Statistics next CPI inflation announcement, due on April 12.

Through the British Retail Consortium, retailers have called for Government to keep down centrally driven costs such as taxation, employment and regulations to a minimum. Retailers have also called the Government to provide a framework for responsible localism, encourage and articulate a vision for business investment and invest in a skilled workforce to add long term value to the economy.

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