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UK shop prices rise at fastest rate since 2011


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: A crowd of people walks along London’s shopping streets on December 24, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs

LONDON, (Reuters) – Shop prices in Britain jumped at an alarming rate last month. Worse is yet to come according to a Wednesday survey that revealed more bad news for households living in a growing cost-of-living crisis.

According to the British Retail Consortium, prices at chain stores rose 2.7% annually in April. This is an acceleration from the 2.1% increase in March. It also marks the highest annual rate since September 2011.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of BRC, stated that “the impact of rising oil prices and conflict in Ukraine continued through to April’s retail price.”

Dickinson said that “Nonfood products such as furniture, electricals, and books have experienced the highest rate inflation since records began.” He also pointed out new supply disruptions coming from China. This has resulted in more COVID-19 locks being enacted.

Prices of food rose 3.5% in the past year, which is the largest increase in less than nine years.

BRC’s measure of inflation only covers prices in stores. This is different from Britain’s official index of consumer prices, which measures inflation across all categories. In March, it reached a record 7% for the first time in 30 years.

Officials at the Bank of England are concerned about high inflation. They will likely raise interest rates to 1.1% on Thursday, which is the highest rate since 2009.

The longest running gauge of British consumer confidence, which was established nearly fifty years ago, fell to its lowest level last week. Personal finances confidence also dropped to an all-time low.

Asda and Morrisons supermarket chains announced last week that essential items would be reduced.

Dickinson stated that retailers will do everything they can to maintain prices low and provide value to their customers. However, this will place pressure on them in finding cost-savings other than their usual efforts.

“Unfortunately customers need to be ready for more price hikes and bumpy roads.”