Shop prices fall at fastest pace in over six years

RETAIL prices fell by 0.2 per cent in the twelve months to June this year, the sharpest reduction recorded in more than six years, according to a British Retail Consortium (BRC) index released today.

The falling price of goods is entirely driven by non-food items, which have declined 1.9 per cent in price since June 2012. Food, on the other hand, has risen in price by 2.7 per cent in the same period. June saw the first month-on-month increase in food prices in the last seven, ticking upward by 0.1 per cent from May.

Clothing, furniture, electrical item and gardening prices all slumped, driving the fall. Some select food commodities have also seen declines, with coffee and sugar falling by 19 and 17 per cent respectively in the last year.

Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, commented: “With the recent consumer confidence figures indicating an increased willingness to make major purchases, now is a good time to buy big-ticket items at the best possible price.”

The BRC also drew attention to households saving a smaller proportion of their income, despite improved consumer spending, suggesting that this would push retailers into making more promotional offers.

Unpredictable weather has driven some of the decline in prices over the year so far, especially in items like gardening goods and clothing, which are seasonally sensitive.