Falling inflation under threat in 2024, says BRC

Shop price inflation eased for the sixth month in a row as retailers compete fiercely to bring prices down for customers ahead of Christmas.

According to the latest BRC-NielsenIQ Shop Price Index for November 2023, Shop Price annual inflation decelerated further to 4.3% in November, down from 5.2% in October. This is below the 3-month average rate of 5.3%. Shop price growth is at its lowest since June 2022.

Non-Food inflation fell to 2.5% in November, down from 3.4% in October. This is below the 3-month average rate of 3.5%. Inflation is its lowest since June 2022.

Food inflation decelerated to 7.8% in November, down from 8.8% in October. This is below the 3-month average rate of 8.9% and is the seventh consecutive deceleration in the food category. Inflation is its lowest since July 2022.

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Food inflation eased, thanks to lower domestic energy prices reducing overall input costs, particularly for dairy products. Ambient food inflation slowed but remained higher than fresh food due to a larger proportion of goods being imported to the UK and impacted by the weak pound. While health and beauty products saw price cuts as retailers rush to shift stock Christmas, clothing prices increased as some retailers continued to hold off on promotional activity.”

“Retailers are committed to delivering an affordable Christmas for their customers. They face new headwinds in 2024 – from government-imposed increases in business rates bills to the hidden costs of complying with new regulations. Combining these with the biggest rise to the National Living Wage on record will likely stall or even reverse progress made thus far on bringing down inflation, particularly in food.”

Mike Watkins, Head of Retailer and Business Insight, NielsenIQ, said: “With the recent slow-down in consumer spending, many non-food retailers will have been reliant on Black Friday to kick starts sales to avoid discounting in December, whereas food retailers will be optimistic that footfall will increase as inflation slows and shoppers get into a festive mood. Across all retail, this year shoppers will be making savings on everyday essentials to help pay for their family Christmas.”

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