Belfast Telegraph

Shop prices fall for sixth consecutive month

Overall prices fell 0.5% in November compared to a 0.4% decrease in October as retailers enticed shoppers with discounts amid political uncertainty.

Non-food prices fell by 1.6% (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
Non-food prices fell by 1.6% (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

By Josie Clarke, PA Consumer Correspondent

Shop prices have fallen for a sixth consecutive month as retailers enticed customers with ever deeper price cuts to offset political upheaval, figures show.

Overall prices fell 0.5% in November compared to a 0.4% decrease in October as retailers enticed shoppers with discounts amid economic and political uncertainty, according to the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index.

Non-food prices fell by 1.6% while food inflation eased to 1.4% from 1.6% in October.

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Source: BRC

Prices were driven down in part by a strong crop of fresh fruit in the UK and a fall in the global price of dairy.

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “The economic and political uncertainty has weakened demand for non-essential items. As a result, retailers have pushed for even deeper price cuts to encourage consumers to open their wallets.

“While consumers will welcome the fall in prices in the run up to Christmas, there are various factors which could push food prices up in the longer term. These include the impact of flooding on the yields of many root vegetables and the rising global prices of meat.

“However, the biggest threat to future prices remains the risk of a chaotic no-deal Brexit pushing up the costs of EU imports, which account for 30% of the food we consume.

“The next government should aim to provide clarity on the UK’s future relationship with the EU as soon as possible.”

Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at Nielsen, said: “With fragile consumer confidence, retailers are keeping price increases to a minimum to encourage consumers to spend and there is little inflationary pressure coming from the high street.

“With Black Friday discounts and promotions already giving shoppers further savings, any new pricing initiatives to drive demand in the final weeks up to Christmas will need to be balanced to protect margins.”

PA

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