The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said UK shop prices soared 2.7% in February, the highest levels since November 2008, from 2.5% in January, as retailers were forced to raise prices after the 2.5% rise in VAT and the ongoing climb in commodity prices.

The main boost came from the incline in non-food prices by 1.6%, the highest level in nine months, compared with the prior 1.3% advance, while food prices inched down to 4.5% from 4.6%.