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Economy

Shop price inflation flatlines in December

non-food price inflation picked up to 3.1% in December from 2.5% in November. According to the BRC, this was the slowest for the category since September 2024

The annual shop price rise was slower than the three-month average rate of 4.6% at 4.3%, the lowest since June 2022, according to the BRC’s latest shop price index. 

The index, which compiled data from the first week of December, showed that non-food price inflation picked up to 3.1% in December from 2.5% in November. According to the BRC, this was the slowest for the category since September 2024.

On a monthly basis, overall shop prices in the UK were up 0.4% in December from November. This was attributed to a 0.5% rise in non-food prices, while food prices were unchanged.

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BRC CEO Helen Dickinson explained that non-food prices rose in December, after retailers invested in discounting for the Black Friday event in November and before the January sales.

Dickinson said: “Retailers will continue to do all they can to keep prices down in 2024, but there are obstacles on the road ahead. New border checks for EU imports, hundreds of millions more on business rates bills from April. 

Government should think twice before imposing new costs on retail businesses that would not only hold back vital investment in local communities, but also push up prices for struggling households.”

Mike Watkins, head of retail and business insight at NielsenIQ, added: “NIQ research showed that low price, quality, and availability were the top factors for shoppers when planning where to do their main Christmas grocery shop this year so the further fall in shop prices will have helped shoppers celebrate the festive season.

“But there was a lot of pressure on discretionary spend and price discounting was deeper and began earlier not just in the non-food channel but also in food retail, where promotions got back to a 4 year high at the end of the year.”

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