High Street

Shop prices fall 1.7% as non-food items suffer

Shop Prices fell by 1.7% in April, compared with the 0.8% decrease seen in March, making it the highest rate of decline since January 2017 according to the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index.
Non-food prices fell sharply by 3.7% in April compared to a decline of 1.9% in March. This is below the 12-and six-month average price declines of 1.6% and 2.0%, respectively. The decline is the highest rate of decline since the series began in December 2006.

Food inflation accelerated to 1.8% in April, up from 1.1% in March. This is above the 12- and six-month average price increases of 1.5% and 1.5%, respectively. This is the highest inflation rate since June 2019.Fresh Food inflation also accelerated to 1.0% in April, up from 0.4% in March.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: “Overall, Shop Prices fell in April, with a larger drop in Non-Food prices outweighing the rise in Food inflation. Food retailers offered fewer promotions this April as they worked to discourage the consumer stockpiling of the previous month, pushing food inflation slightly above average.

“In contrast, some Non-Food sectors, particularly Clothing and Footwear and Furniture, were hard hit, as discretionary spending evaporated, resulting in deep price cuts.”

She added: “With the UK facing months of economic uncertainty and the prospect of rising job losses, many customers have cut right back on spending. A speedy economic recovery is key to rebuilding consumer confidence, but businesses cannot do it alone.

“The Government has demonstrated great support for the industry and they must be ready to take measures to revive consumer demand after lockdown has lifted.”

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