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UK Inflation Rate Unchanged as Childrenswear Prices Fall

Britain’s inflation rate remained unchanged in August, as rising food prices and air fares were offset by falls in clothing and footwear.

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), published Tuesday, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) increased 0.6% year-over-year in August, the same measure as in July.

“The rate is still relatively low in the historic context although it is above the rates experienced in 2015 and early 2016,” ONS said.

Overall, clothing and footwear prices rose by 1 percent between July and August this year, less than the 1.5% increase recorded in 2015. ONS cited men’s short sleeved T-shirts and tops, children’s jumpers, sweaters and cardigans and women’s sleepwear and blouses/shirts as the main contributors to the downward trend in clothing. However, prices did rise on women’s dresses and formal trousers.

In footwear (including repairs), prices increased by only 0.7% between July and August, compared with 1.2% a year ago, with the downward effect coming mainly from women’s shoes.

But as the British Retail Consortium reported last week, summer clothing bargains weren’t enough to drive people into stores last month, which caused total sales to decline 0.3% in August, versus a 0.1% increase a year earlier.