Higher prices loom for UK shops, says retailers’ body

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Shop prices across the UK have risen marginally last month, as per a recent market report, suggesting that driver shortages and the costs of Brexit-induced red tape are beginning to hit household budgets.

As per the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and research group NielsenIQ, shop prices saw a 0.4 per cent month-on-month rise in August. This was driven by a 0.6 per cent rise in non-food prices, including a sharp increase in the cost of electrical goods caused by shortages of micro-chips and shipping problems.

Overall retail prices have fell year on year, down by 0.8 per cent in August compared with the same month a year earlier.

“There are some modest indications that rising costs are starting to filter through into product prices,” said Helen Dickinson, the chief executive of the BRC, which represents hundreds of retail businesses.

“Food retailers are fighting to keep their prices down as far as possible. But mounting pressures – from rising commodity and shipping costs as well as Brexit-related red tape, mean this will not be sustainable for much longer, and food price rises are likely in the coming months.

“Disruption has been limited so far, but in the run-up to Christmas the situation could get worse, and customers may see the reduced choice and increased prices for their favourite products and presents.”

BRC’s report comes after a warning from the toy retailer The Entertainer that there could be reduced choice and increased prices in toys because of supply chain disruption, labour shortages and higher transport costs. Grocery chain Iceland has also said poor availability of lorry drivers could ruin this Christmas.