Rain to blame for falling inflation as shops cut prices

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TRADERS forced to slash their prices as wet weather stops customer spending are responsible for inflation being at a two-and-a-half year low.

Statistics out yesterday from the Office for National Statistics put CPI at 2.4 per cent, down from 2.8 per cent in May.

It’s a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, prices are kept low for cash-strapped shoppers struggling to make ends meet, whose disposable incomes are still falling.

But on the other, the reason for the fall – the rain – means retailers already struggling to stay afloat are finding it doubly hard.

Caroline Collings, of the Federation of Small Businesses, who’s based in Portsmouth, said: ‘The wet weather has meant that most people haven’t bought their summer wardrobes, and they would have done that by now.

‘The only retail area that is doing well is people buying holidays.

‘All seasonal sales – camping, barbecueing, etc, have been affected.

‘We’re used to wet weather in Britain, but this has been quite exceptional.’

Ms Collings said though the jet stream, which has been responsible for the very wet weather, is moving away from the south, it would be ‘too late’ to help retailers.

She said: ‘People aren’t going to spend heavily in August for a month or six weeks.

‘It does sound a bit doom and gloom, and I and the FSB don’t want it to be, but that’s what it is.’

Falling food and transport costs also affected the inflation fall, the ONS said.