UK Shop Prices Rise for the First Time in More than Five Years


Spell of unusually cold winter weather followed by heatwave pushes up cost of fruit and veg

Britain’s shop prices have risen for the first time in more than five years as the heatwave pushed up the cost of fruit and vegetables.
The latest BRC-Nielsen figures show that overall shop prices rose 0.1% in August, entering inflationary territory for the first time since April 2013.
Food inflation jumped to a seven-month high of 1.9% in August.
The lowest rate of deflation for non-food items for more than five years also led to the return of shop price inflation, according to the shop price index.
Non-food price deflation eased back further to 1% in August, down from 1.4% in July and the lowest level since April 2013, as strong demand for summer products earlier in the season reduced the need for discounting.
The figures come as concerns grow that consumers may face a food price shock over the coming months.
The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) said earlier this week that food prices could rise by at least 5% as a result of spells of unusually cold winter weather and the summer heatwave in 2018.
It estimated that households could see food bills rise by about £7.15 a month.
The CEBR said wholesale farm-gate prices of some staples rose by up to 80% between March and July, in particular for wheat, strawberries, carrots and lettuce.
Farmers have also been hit by rising costs of oil and agricultural products on global markets, according to the British Retail Consortium.
Its monthly data showed that fresh food inflation picked up to 1.5% in August, up from 1.2% in July and the highest for seven months, while price inflation for packaged and canned food accelerated to 2.5% in August, up from 2.2% in July.
The overall shop price inflation figure compared with deflation of 0.3% in July.
But the BRC said shop price inflation remains well below the wider rate of consumer price inflation which stands at 2.5%.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: “Despite significant increases in costs in the supply chain, this month’s figures show that retailers are keeping price increases faced by consumers to a minimum.
“However, current inflationary pressures pale in comparison to potential increases in costs retailers will face in the event the we leave the EU without a deal.”

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