Year-on-year price falls for non-food merchandise widened in September as retailers competed to offer consumers the keenest deals.

The British Retail Consortium’s BRC-Neilsen Shop Price Index recorded a 2.9 per cent annual decline in September for non-food goods, a 50 basis point drop on the 2.4 per cent August figure.

Food prices fell 0.5 per cent in September, having risen 0.2 per cent in August against the same month in 2014.

Combined, that meant total shop price inflation was negative by 1.9 per cent, from 1.4 per cent in August.

BRC Director General, Helen Dickinson, said: "September saw significant prices drops in both food and non-food goods marking the 29th consecutive month of falling shop prices.

“Heavy discounting could be seen in electricals, books, stationery and home entertainment. It was a particularly good month to hunt for bargains in clothing and footwear with prices falling by 6 per cent in this category.”

Official figures are due later in October.