Wage increases for the nation's workforce are not matching the pace of inflation, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
It was asserted this remains the case despite the sharp inflation drop experienced in January that has been announced by the Office for National Statistics.
Although retail spending contributed significant downward pressures on this measure, it was noted the discrepancy between the cost of living and salaries is still placing a strain on household finances.
Director-general of the BRC Stephen Robertson noted another significant reason for the drop is the VAT increase falling out of annual comparisons.
He added discounts and price promotions also encouraged a greater degree of consumer spending, arguing this indicates proposed business rate increases are unjustified.
"With the Bank of England predicting inflation to fall further, both governments should sharply reduce that figure to avoid the damage that will be done to jobs and investment," he commented.