The BRC-Nielsen shop price index for the final month of 2018 recorded the lowest rate of deflation of non-food goods since March 2013, despite deep discounting in several sectors. The reporting period covered 3-7 December.
Non-food prices stabilised over 2018, the BRC added, following a period of steep deflation.
This has been the result of both delayed impacts on non-food shop prices from the post-referendum exchange rate adjustment, and a change in the promotional strategies deployed by retailers.
Chief executive of the BRC, Helen Dickinson, warned that retailers faced uncertainty without a Brexit deal with the European Union: “December’s shop price figures only serve to underline how tough conditions are in the retail industry.
”Despite non-food goods being cheaper on average than last year, early indications suggest that retailers faced a challenging environment throughout the festive season.
“Shoppers may have become accustomed to great value, but Brexit uncertainty means that a continuation of the low prices is by no means guaranteed.
”Without a trade deal with the EU, the cost of importing many of the goods we buy day to day will go up significantly and retailers simply do not have the room in their margins to protect consumers from those costs.”