Prices in UK shops rose in November to their highest level since at least 2005, with Brits grappling with rising costs in the run up to Christmas.
The British Retail Consortium said retail price inflation accelerated to 7.4 percent in November, a new record for the index which started in 2005 and up from 6.6 percent in October. Grocery prices rose 12.4 percent, with meat, eggs, dairy and coffee particularly under pressure.
Shoppers are prioritizing their spending on groceries and utility bills as the weather turns colder. Almost half of UK consumers plan to spend less this holiday season, and a third are buying cheaper gifts for friends and family, according to Ernst & Young.
“Christmas cheer will be dampened this year as households cut seasonal spending to prioritize essentials,” said BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson. “Winter is looking increasingly gloomy as pressure on prices continues unabated.”
UK retailers started discounts earlier than usual this year to tempt shoppers to spread their holiday treats. Department store John Lewis Partnership Plc and drugstore chain Boots both began offering seasonal deals from early November.
Transactions during Black Friday and Cyber Monday were up year-on-year, according to data from Barclaycard Payments, but larger-than-normal discounts can mean margins are squeezed.
Rising food prices are forcing some consumers to skip meals while others are turning to food banks. More than a quarter of UK households are experiencing financial difficulties, twice as many as a year earlier, and the vast majority of respondents said higher food and drink prices were a major problem, Kantar said earlier this month.
“The cost of Christmas will be higher this year and shoppers will be tighter on their budgets than at any time since the cost of living crisis began,” said Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at NielsenIQ, which produces the data for the BRC.
https://www.independent.ie/business/world/inflation-in-uk-shops-jumps-to-highest-level-on-record-42184618.html Inflation in UK shops rises to its highest level ever