Shop prices show biggest decline since 2006

Empty Oxford Street Retail reopenings Clothing sales

Shop prices fell by 2.4% in May compared to a 1.7% decrease in April – below the 12 and six-month average price decreases of 0.7% and 1.0%, respectively. It’s the highest rate of decline since December 2006, according to the latest data from the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index.

The drop was largely driven by the fall in non-food prices, which were sharply down by -4.6% in May compared to a decline of -3.7% in April, as clothing retailers discounted heavily amid the coronavirus crisis and shop closures.

Helen Dickinson, CEO of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said: “Shop prices in May fell at their fastest rate since 2006, which was largely driven by the drop in non-food prices. Clothing and furniture saw the biggest drop as retailers ran promotions to encourage consumer spending and attempted to mitigate recent losses.

“Even as non-essential shops begin to reopen from 15 June, consumer demand is expected to remain weak and many retailers will have to fight to survive, especially with the added costs of social distancing measures.

“Retailers face an uphill battle to continue to provide their customers with high quality and great value products despite mounting costs. Government support remains essential, both to rebuild consumer confidence and to support the thousands of firms and millions of jobs that rely on it.”