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BRC warns cost pressures could delay falling inflation

By Rachel Douglass


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York, UK. Credits: Unsplash

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has said that obstacles towards the beginning of 2024 could pose challenges towards a potential decline in inflation, with the organisation calling on the government to reconsider further costs for retail businesses.

For the December period, shop price annual inflation remained unchanged at 4.3 percent, coming in below the three-month average rate of 4.6 percent.

While food inflation saw a steeper decline, non-food appeared to be on the struggling end, with inflation rising 3.1 percent in December, up from 2.5 percent in the month prior.

This came above the three-month average rate of 3 percent, despite inflation being its lowest since September 2022.

In a statement, Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said that while food inflation welcomed a “cause for merriment” among households, non-food products “had a more challenging December, with price inflation rising again following retailers’ investment in November Black Friday discounting and ahead of the January sales”.

Dickinson continued: “Retailers will continue to do all they can to keep prices down in 2024, but there are obstacles on the road ahead. New border checks for EU imports, hundreds of millions more on business rates bills from April.

“Government should think twice before imposing new costs on retail businesses that would not only hold back vital investment in local communities, but also push up prices for struggling households.”