July sees retail prices plunging at fastest pace ever recorded

SHOP prices shrank again in July, declining at the fastest pace since the British Retail Consortium (BRC) began measuring them six-and-a-half years ago.

The BRC’s shop price index fell by 0.5 per cent over the year to July, driven by the plummeting costs of non-food items, which dropped by 2.1 per cent. Although food prices rose by 2.2 per cent in the same period, this is the lowest level of price inflation in that category since summer 2010. The cost of food actually fell between June and July, by 0.3 per cent. Clothing and footwear prices were 9.7 per cent lower in July than they were 12 months ago. The BRC’s director general, Helen Dickinson, commented: “This is great news for hard pressed families whose budgets have been squeezed by rising utility bills”.

London Councils, which promotes the capital’s 33 local authorities, also released a study today, suggesting that 7,000 vacant shops in the city are sapping as much as £350m in lost trade from the economy, despite one of the lowest levels of vacant stores.