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Rising energy costs and Ukraine conflict feed into soaring shop prices

Shop prices are up 2.7% on last year, figures show(PA)
Shop prices are up 2.7% on last year, figures show(PA)

Shop prices are up 2.7% on last year marking their highest rate of inflation since September 2011, figures show.

The impact of rising energy prices and the conflict in Ukraine continued to feed through into April’s retail prices, with no sign of them abating, according to the BRC-NielsenIQ Shop Price Index.

Shop price annual inflation accelerated to 2.7% in April, up from 2.1% in March and soaring beyond the 12 and six-month average increases of 0.4% and 1.5%, according to the index.

(Source: BRC)

Food inflation accelerated to 3.5% in April, up from 3.3% in March, although fresh food inflation slowed slightly from 3.5% last month to 3.4% amid fierce competition between supermarkets which resisted price hikes on everyday essentials.

Global food prices have reached record highs, seeing a 13% rise on last month alone, and even higher for cooking oils and cereals amid warnings that they will place further upward pressure on UK food prices as they filter through the supply chain over coming months.

Non-food products, particularly furniture, electricals and books, have seen the highest rate of inflation since records began in 2006, accelerating to 2.2% in April from 1.5% in March, exacerbated by disruption at the world’s largest seaport, following Shanghai’s recent lockdown.

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Retailers will continue to do all they can to keep prices down and deliver value for their customers by limiting price rises and expanding their value ranges, but this will put pressure on them to find cost-savings elsewhere.

“Unfortunately, customers should brace themselves for further price rises and a bumpy road ahead.”

Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at NielsenIQ, said: “Inflation shows no signs of abating and the increase in non-food prices is an extra challenge for the high street as fragile consumer confidence and rising living costs are likely to negatively affect consumer spending.

“With food retailing no longer immune to these pressures, supermarkets are reacting by cutting the prices of some everyday grocery products including private label to help limit shop price inflation.”