Shop prices rise in December despite discounting

Shop prices saw a 0.3% year-on-year increase in December despite many retailers discounting heavily during the festive period, the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index has revealed.

This was pushed up by food items which saw a 1.5% increase overall; individually fresh food saw a 0.9% price hike while shelf-stable food prices rose by 2.3%. Non-food items were down by 0.4% year-on-year.

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Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of BRC, said: “December’s Shop Price figures only serve to underline how tough conditions are in the retail industry. Despite non-food goods being cheaper on average than last year, early indications suggest that retailers faced a challenging environment throughout the festive season.”

Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at Nielsen, added: “With an uncertain economic outlook, retailers had to work hard to encourage customers to keep shopping, and in the run up to Christmas price discounting was deeper and began earlier across both food and non food channels.

“There was also unprecedented levels of vouchering in December across many supermarkets to encourage shoppers to spend, and this competitive retail environment kept increases in shop prices low. Retailers know that customers are worried about their personal finances, so they will continue to do all they can to limit price rises over the next few months despite the external pressures.”

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