Shop price rises nearly doubled in Januaryon February 2, 2022 at 7:14 am

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The prices of food, furniture and flooring all jumped in January, says trade group.

Supermarket stock shot

Image source, Getty Images

Shoppers have been hit by the highest price rises in nearly 10 years after shop inflation almost doubled over the past month, data suggests.

Shop price inflation jumped from 0.8% in December to 1.5% in January, the BRC-NielsenIQ price index indicated.

Many families have been struggling with a cost of living crisis as fuel prices and energy bills soar.

The latest official figures showed inflation at its highest rate for 30 years.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and research firm NielsenIQ measured inflation in retailers in the UK in the first week of January, looking at price changes in 500 commonly bought items.

It said that shop price rises were the highest since December 2012.

Higher costs

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “January saw shop price inflation nearly double, driven by a sharp rise in non-food inflation.

“In particular, furniture and flooring saw exceptionally high demand leading to increased prices as the rising oil costs made shipping more expensive.

“Food prices continue to rise, especially domestic produce which have been [hit] by poor harvests, labour shortages, and rising global food prices.”

Ms Dickinson also said this will directly affect the cost of living crisis, saying “it would be impossible to protect consumers from any future rises” in costs.

Global rising energy prices, supply problems and higher shipping costs are hitting retailers, with many costs being passed on to consumers.

Staff shortages are a particular problem in the UK, due to Brexit and the pandemic, and are prompting some employers to raise wages, which can contribute to inflation.

The UK’s inflation rate rose to 5.4% in the 12 months to December, the highest rate for 30 years.

However, Jack Monroe, who campaigns on food poverty, has said that the prices of everyday essentials are going up by more than the official inflation rate, hitting the poorest hardest.

Struggling families are dealing with increases in costs including soaring energy prices after a worldwide squeeze on on gas and energy supplies.

Wholesale gas prices have risen to unprecedented levels. At the end of December, they hit a new record of 450p per therm, which experts think could take average annual gas bills to about £2,000 next year.

Construction supply firms have also seen raw materials and shipping costs increase over the past 18 months.

Timco told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the building goods company used to pay about $1,000 (£739) for a shipping container, but was now having to pay “north of $10,000”.

Alex Stephens, finance director for Timco, said: “Back then, the cost of shipping as a percentage of an overall product might have been low, a single-digit percent, now I would say it’s somewhere between 20% and 50% of the pricing.

“We are currently bringing in containers from the Far East where the shipping cost is pretty much the same as the cost of the materials that we are bringing in,” he said.

“To be honest, nothing has gotten any better. If anything, things at the moment are getting worse.”

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