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Clothing and footwear shop prices continue to fall but at slowest rate since May 2019

Tom Bottomley
02 June 2021

Non-food shop prices continued to slow in May 2021, with prices falling by 0.8% compared to a decline of 1.7% in April.

That’s above the 12-month and 6-month average price declines of 3.1% and 2.9%, respectively, and the slowest rate of decline since May 2019, according to the latest data from BRC-NielsenIQ.

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said: “It was another good month for consumers looking for bargains as prices fell again, albeit at a slower pace than last month. While clothing and footwear prices continued to fall in May, the pick-up in demand once social restrictions lifted meant this drop was smaller than in previous months. Furniture and electricals saw prices rise as retailers felt the lingering impact of global supply chain disruption from earlier this year. Meanwhile, supermarkets fought hard to maintain market share and please thrifty customers by keeping prices low.

“However, cost pressures are bearing down. Global food prices are currently at their highest in seven years, shipping costs have risen threefold since 2019, and commodity prices are climbing. We will likely see these costs filter through in the second half of this year, and with the additional Brexit red-tape this autumn, retailers may be forced to pass on some of these costs onto their customers. Government can help to ease the burden on British consumers by finding ways to minimise the impact of new checks and documentation required from October.”

Mike Watkins, Head of Retailer and Business Insight, NielsenIQ, added: “Consumers will be seeing the impact of higher energy and fuel costs in household bills and while some cost price increases are coming through the supply chain, this is not yet enough for shop price inflation to return.

“With high street retailers continuing to offer price reductions and supermarkets promoting seasonal food and drink, this is helping to offset cost of living increases.”

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