The Bank of England remains reluctant to endorse the notion of cutting interest rates in 2024 despite mounting evidence that inflationary pressures are easing, as further underlined by today's news that Next is anticipating a year of "zero inflation" across its retail empire.

The fashion and homeware retailer has been on a hot streak that continued through the Christmas trading period with a 5.7% increase in sales during the nine weeks to December 30. As a result it has raised its annual profit forecast for the fifth time in seven months, and is now anticipating a pre-tax result of £905 million for the year to January 27.

Amid the wider economic climate, these results are genuinely excellent. Others have fared far less well, with shares in JD Sports plunging today after a profit warning triggered by sluggish festive sales.

READ MORE: Retailer Next predicts year of 'zero inflation' in prices

Meanwhile, other fresh figures from the Bank of England (BoE) show that growth in the use of consumer credit accelerated to the highest rate recorded in five years during November. Not all of this is going towards the purchase of non-essential goods such as those sold by Next; mounting financial burdens have forced a growing number of households to rely on credit to help with regular bills.

Along with the surge in food and energy costs, higher interest rates have ratcheted up the financial pressure on hard-pressed consumers as the cost of borrowing money, particularly via mortgages, has shot through the roof.

Having waited too long after inflation started taking off in the second half of 2021, the BoE hurled itself into a game of catch-up on higher interest rates to bring the situation under control. And after failing to tighten in a timely fashion, the Bank now appears to have developed a blind spot on the need to ease up.

Next is not alone in highlighting easing price pressures. Latest data from the BoE's own Decision Maker Panel - a regular survey of chief financial officers - continues to suggest that inflation is cooling noticeably. The BoE should take heed and concede.