Price rises set to make Christmas shopping more expensive for Britons

Years of falling prices in shops have been replaced by inflation amid global economic turmoil

Tim Wyatt
Wednesday 01 December 2021 00:00
<p>Pulling together the ingredients for a traditional Christmas dinner is likely to be costlier than expected this year</p>

Pulling together the ingredients for a traditional Christmas dinner is likely to be costlier than expected this year

Prices in shops have started rising for the first time in two and a half years, sparking warnings of an unwelcome surge in the cost of Christmas shopping.

Year on year shop prices went up by 0.3 per cent in November, a steep turnaround from the previous month when they had fallen by 0.4 per cent, according to the BRC-NielsenIQ Shop Price Index.

It is the first time that prices have risen since May 2019, and is likely to mean shoppers will see rising prices in time for the busiest shopping season of the year in the lead-up to Christmas.

The increase is thought to be caused by rising food prices, labour shortages, commodity prices and transportation costs all also pushing up the cost of consumer goods.

Food products are rising in price the fastest, mostly because of sharp increases in some raw materials globally, including vegetable oil which has doubled in price in the past two years.

Fresh food inflation accelerated to 1.2 per cent in November, up from 0.3 per cent in October and the highest rate since August 2019.

The British Retail Consortium’s chief executive Helen Dickinson said: "With food prices rising, and particularly fresh food – which saw the highest inflation since 2019 – we may find some of our Christmas shopping a little more expensive this year.

"With ongoing labour shortages throughout the supply chain expected to continue for some time, and no signs that rising costs of transport and commodities will subside, we expect the rate of inflation to accelerate over coming months.

"Retailers are doing all they can to mitigate the impacts for their customers, Government also must play its part and work with industry to find long-term solutions to the labour shortages as this will help to relieve cost pressures and protect the pockets of the British public who are already facing mounting costs from increasing energy prices and the looming rise in National Insurance."

Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at NielsenIQ, said: "NielsenIQ shopper research shows that four in 10 households feel that their spending is constrained, and whilst inflationary pressures are now coming from both food and non-food, retailers continue to hold back increases in shop prices ahead of Christmas."

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