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UK Retailers Raise Shop Prices by Most Since 2012

Shoppers on Oxford Street, London.
British shoppers were hit by the biggest increase in prices charged by major retailers in more than nine years in January. (Shutterstock)

British shoppers were hit by the biggest increase in prices charged by major retailers in more than nine years in January, according to a survey that added to signs of accelerating inflation momentum.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said on Wednesday — a day before the Bank of England (BoE) is expected to raise interest rates for a second time in two months — that shop prices rose by 1.5 percent in January compared with the same month in 2021.

That was the biggest annual increase since December 2012 and was almost double December 2021′s 0.8 percent rise.

Food prices rose by 2.7 percent — the most since October 2013 and up from 2.4 percent in December — which reflected poor harvests, labour shortages and rising global food prices, the BRC said.

But the bigger impact came from non-food prices rose by 0.9 percent after falling by 0.2 percent in December, led by furniture and flooring which saw exceptionally high demand.

Britain’s consumer price inflation rate, which measures a broader range of spending, hit a 30-year high of 5.4 percent in December, almost three times the BoE’s 2 percent target, and is expected to squeeze demand for non-essentials this year.

“The surge in energy and travel costs is now impacting disposable incomes and is likely to dent consumers’ willingness to spend,” Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at NielsenIQ, which co-produces the data, said.

Research by NielsenIQ showed nearly a half of all households cited the rising cost of living as their most important concern.

By William Schomberg; Editor: David Milliken

Learn more:

Why Price Inflation Is Coming to Fashion

Apparel prices are rising at their fastest pace in years, as the cost of everything from cotton to container shipping soars. BoF lays out how to seize the opportunity to break a decade-long cycle of discounting.

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