Impossible to shield shoppers from rising costs

It will be impossible for businesses to shield shoppers from rising costs in the months ahead as till price rises hit their highest level for almost ten years, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has warned.

The industry group said price pressures would remain for the foreseeable future despite the industry working hard to cut costs to mitigate the impact. It pointed to the latest shop price index, compiled with NielsenIQ data, which showed annual inflation at the shops jumping from 0.8% in December to 1.5% in January.

The report said it marked the highest rate since December 2012.

The upwards shift was driven by non-food inflation which accelerated to 0.9% in January compared to a fall of 0.2% in December, the BRC said.

Helen Dickinson, CEO of the BRC, said: ‘Food prices continue to rise, especially domestic produce which have been impacted by poor harvests, labour shortages, and rising global food prices.

‘Many households will find it difficult to absorb the rising costs, as well as others on the horizon.

‘Retailers are working hard to cut costs, but it would be impossible to protect consumers from any future rises.’

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