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    Industry urges political parties to set out cohesive plan for retail

    (Photo: iStock)

    Retailers are calling on the political parties understand the value of retail to the wider economy and set out a clear and cohesive plan for retail in their manifestos.

    Responding to the latest CPI inflation figures which show headline inflation rising to 4.0 per cent and food inflation falling 1.2 percentage points to 8.0 per cent, Kris Hamer, Director of Insight of the British Retail Consortium, said that efforts to bring down inflation faltered in December, with rises in alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.

    “Despite retailers’ efforts to deliver an affordable Christmas for everyone, high input costs increased inflation rates in furniture and household equipment.

    “There was a ninth consecutive fall in the inflation rate for food relieving some pressure on struggling households. While inflation overall remains positive, there were falls in the price of fish and yoghurt, though the price of other products such as olive oil rose due to extreme weather conditions in Europe. Meanwhile, gifting was made cheaper by the falling price of footwear and toys.

    “Retailers face a number of extra costs this year that threaten the progress made to reduce prices. New EU border checks this month, disruption in the Red Sea, a hike to business rates in April, and the potential of a new grocer surtax in Scotland are all challenges that retailers need to navigate in 2024.

    “With an election in the next 12 months, it is time political parties understand the value of retail to the wider economy and set out a clear and cohesive plan for retail in their manifestos. Allowing retail to thrive will create jobs, bring down prices for households, and support communities up and down the country.”

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