UK retail prices fall amid fierce competition

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·2 min read
A fierce competition among retailers drove down the costs of key products in October. Photo: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters
A fierce competition among retailers drove down the costs of key products in October. Photo: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

Prices of retail products in shops fell in October, as fierce competition among retailers drove down the costs of key products.

The decline of 1.2% compared with October 2019 was less severe than that of September, when shop prices dipped by 1.6% compared with the same time a year before, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen shop price index.

The decline is below the 12-month average price decrease of 1.1%.

Non-food prices saw the biggest declines, falling 2.7% in October, compared with the same time last year. This is a slightly better reading than September, where prices fell by 3.2% compared with the previous year.

This is in line the 12-month average price decline of 2.7%, but above the six-month average price decline of 3.4%.

Food prices, meanwhile, were up 1.2% in both September and October on the same months last year. This is below the 12- and six-month average price increases of 1.4% and 1.3%, respectively.

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Helen Dickinson OBE, CEO of the BRC said: “Once again, it is good news for consumers with shop prices falling in October, albeit at a slower pace compared to the previous month.

“As the retail industry began to see sales bounce back, non-food prices saw the shallowest decline since the start of the pandemic. However, given the wider economic context, with stricter restrictions and a possible rise in unemployment, we are likely to see continuing discounts in non-food for months to come.”

Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at Nielsen, said: “To help sales volumes, non food retailers are limiting any price increases coming through the supply chain and food retailers are continuing with the lower prices introduced in recent weeks.

“And should the recession and the growth in unemployment have a further impact on consumer spend, we can expect shop price inflation to remain low for the rest of the year.”

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