The UK's Consumer Prices Index (CPI) by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows inflation dipped in October, including the clothing and footwear sector, where inflation is down to 6.2 percent from the 6.9 percent recorded in the year leading up to September.
Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), emphasised the positive trend, noting that inflation is once again moving in a favorable direction after a brief pause in September. This downward trajectory is attributed to the seventh consecutive month of declining food inflation. Dickinson highlighted the easing of inflation in clothing, footwear, and furniture as retailers engaged in competitive efforts to provide better value for customers in anticipation of the festive season.
However, Dickinson expressed concerns about the impending business rate increase in 2024, amounting to 480 million pounds annually. She underscored the challenges faced by retailers in maintaining affordable prices for consumers, emphasizing the need for the Chancellor to take action. Dickinson called for a freeze on business rates at the Autumn Budget, cautioning that failing to do so could result in additional cost pressures impacting consumer prices. Moreover, she warned that elevated rates could jeopardize the viability of local communities by diminishing incentives for new shop openings and escalating the risk of closures.