- The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month inflation rate was 2.7% in December 2017, down from 2.8% in November 2017.
- Following a steady increase from late 2015, since April 2017 the CPIH rate has levelled off, ranging between 2.6% and 2.8%.
- The downward effect came mainly from air fares, along with a fall in the prices of a range of recreational goods, particularly games and toys.
- The downward contributions were partially offset by an increase in tobacco prices, reflecting duty increases that came into effect following the Autumn Budget, along with an increase in petrol and diesel prices.
- The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month rate was 3.0% in December 2017, down from 3.1% in November 2017
The British Retail Consortium has called on Government negotiators to put consumers first in the forthcoming Brexit talks by ensuring their sights are firmly set on keeping shop prices low once the UK leaves the European Union.
Failure to strike a good Brexit deal by 2019 would have a disproportionately severe impact on retailers and their customers, because if the UK fell back on to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules the new tariff rates that the UK would apply to imports from the EU would be highest for consumer staples like food and clothing.
For example, the average duty on meat imports could be as high as 27%, while clothing and footwear would attract tariffs of 11-16% versus the current zero-rating for all EU imports.
Falling back on to WTO rules would also increase the cost of sourcing from beyond the EU. The import cost of women’s clothing from Bangladesh would be 12% higher, while Chilean wine would be 14% dearer for importers. This contrasts with duty rates that would apply to raw materials and semi-finished products, many of which would be zero-rated or attract rates of duty of below 10%.
Pop-ups now account for 0.76% of total UK retail turnover, up from 0.6 % the year before, an increase of more than £200m in sales
Britain is now host to more than an estimated 10,000 pop-ups
The sector employs more than 26,000 people
- UK retail sales increased by 3.2% on a like-for-like basis from March 2014, when they had decreased 1.7% on the preceding year.
- On a total basis, sales were up 4.7%, against a 0.3% fall in March 2014. Adjusted for the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index deflation, total growth was 6.8%. The figures are flattered by the inclusion of Easter in March this year against April last year.
- Total Food sales experienced their strongest growth since July 2013, helped by the Easter distortion. Growth was also strong in the home categories but subdued in the fashion ones.
- Online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 12.3% in March versus a year earlier, when it had grown 12.8%. The Non-Food online penetration rate was 17.6%, up from 16.9% in March 2014
- A net total of 987 high street shops disappeared in 2014, almost three times the 2013 total
- 5,839 outlets closed last year, equivalent to 16 a day
- Footfall in February was only 0.5% lower than a year ago, an improvement on the 1.2% fall in January
- This is above the three-month average of -0.8% and best overall footfall performance since May 2014
- Footfall in out-of-town locations fared the best with a 1.0% increase year-on-year
- Four regions and countries reported footfall lower than a year ago, with Wales and Greater London reporting the greatest declines
- Retail sales were broadly flat in the year to February and orders placed upon suppliers fell
- The survey of 138 firms including 62 retailers showed that both volume of retail sales and orders failed to meet expectations of growth in February, following six months of very buoyant sales
- 30% of respondents reported that sales volumes were up on a year ago, while 29% said they were down, giving a balance of +1%, significantly below expectations (+42%) and the lowest since November 2013 (+1%)
- The volume of orders placed upon suppliers fell (-7%), disappointing expectations of growth (+12%), but firms do anticipate a rise next month (+18%)
- Volumes of sales for the time of year in February fell below seasonal norms (-5%), to the greatest extent since January 2014
- Employment fell on a year ago (-21%), with a broadly similar fall in headcount expected next month (-19%)
- Retailers still expect a moderate improvement in their business situation over the next three months.
- The volume of internet sales rose (+47%) at a pace broadly in line with expectations (+49%)