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Slow spending pushes prices down

Shop prices fell by a rate of 0.6% in September, compared with a 0.4% like-for-like decrease in August, marking the highest rate of decline since May 2018. 

The BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index (SPI) shows non-food prices fell by 1.7% in September compared with August’s decrease of 1.5%. This is also the highest rate of decline since May 2018. 

“Shop prices fell by 0.6% on the previous year as low consumer demand and stiff competition continued to push down prices,” commented Helen Dickinson, chief executive, British Retail Consortium. “Non-food prices fell to their lowest since May 2018 as the effects of the drop in the value of sterling since 2016 finished filtering through the economy. 

“While consumers may welcome lower prices, falling consumer demand is squeezing retailers’ already tight margins. With business costs continuing to rise – including business rates, wage bills, and pension costs – the high street risks more big-name closures.

“Reform of business rates remains the most effective way government can support the retail industry – and they should grasp the opportunity with both hands.”

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