Furniture prices slipped below year earlier levels for the first time in more than 18 months in a sign that retailers discounted deeper to secure sales last month.


May consumer prices for furniture and furnishings dipped 0.1 percent compared with May 2017, the first time the Office for National Statistics has returned deflation for the category since October 2016.

Last month's drop compared with a 2.4 percent year-over-year rise in furniture prices in the year to April and came against a backdrop of rising prices at the factory gate (see related).

Though the timing of holidays may have impacted the results, the raw data points to retailers sacrificing margin during the month.

Carpet and other flooring prices remained 0.6 percent higher than May 2017, but narrowed sharply compared with the year to April (2.2pc).

Overall inflation (CPI) was unchanged at 2.4 percent, the ONS said.

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