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Discounting sees shop prices fall for Christmas

Tom Bottomley
06 January 2021

Shop prices fell in December as retailers discounted in the run-up to Christmas, according to the latest data from the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index.

Covering the period from 1-7 December 2020, shop prices fell by 1.8%, the same rate of decline as in November.

Non-Food prices fell by -3.2% in December, compared to a decline of -3.7% in November. That’s below the 12-month average price decline of -3% and in line with the six-month average price decline of -3.2%, respectively.

It was good news for shoppers out to bag a bargain for Christmas, as Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said: “It was welcome news for shoppers in the run up to Christmas as prices fell in December. As in November, non-food prices dropped, and retail firms who have been hardest hit by the pandemic this year, such as fashion outlets, are continuing to offer discounts.

“The successful agreement of a tariff-free deal with the EU will offer retailers a sigh of relief, but there are still huge cost pressures bearing down on them as the consequences of last year’s forced closures take effect and social restrictions continue to impact the New Year.

“Therefore, it is absolutely vital that the government provides additional targeted financial support and extends the business rates relief beyond April 2021. Otherwise, many more businesses will become unviable and many thousands of jobs could be at risk.”

Mike Watkins, Head of Retailer and Business Insight at Nielsen, added: “Shoppers were cautious about Christmas with many expecting to spend the same or less this year and, after the disruption of the lockdowns in November, non-food retailers had a roller coaster month - so keeping prices low will have helped maintain spend through to the end of December.”

The BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index (SPI) is a monthly measure of UK shop price inflation. The SPI measures changes in the price of 500 of the most commonly bought items.

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