UK Shop Price Inflation Falls to 18-Month Low as Retailers Offer Discounts



Shop price inflation in the UK has dropped to its lowest level in 18 months, with retailers offering substantial discounts to attract customers. While prices in January were still 2.9% higher than a year ago, this is considerably lower than December's figure of 4.3%. Food inflation also slowed slightly but remained high at 6.1%. Non-food goods were the main driver behind the fall in shop price inflation, as many retailers heavily discounted their products during January sales.

The Good News for Tea and Milk Lovers

According to the British Retail Consortium, tea and milk prices have fallen, bringing some "new year cheer" for morning brew enthusiasts. However, the BRC's chief executive, Helen Dickinson, warned that higher prices will continue due to rising geopolitical tensions and uncertainty in supply chains.

Consumer Demand Remains Fragile

Mike Watkins, at Nielseniq, echoed Dickinson's concerns, stating that while shoppers are seeing savings at the checkout, consumer demand remains fragile. Watkins attributed this fragility to households not yet feeling the benefits of lower prices after nearly two years of inflation.

Price Reductions and Aldi Price Match Campaign

Last week, the Co-op reduced prices on 117 everyday products for members, in addition to the discounted member prices it already offers on 175 essential products. Sainsbury's has also expanded its Aldi Price Match campaign to include 550 products, aiming to provide customers with the best value.

UK Cinema Revenues Exceed £1 Billion with Barbie Movie and Oppenheimer

The release of the Barbie movie, alongside the nuclear bomb origin story Oppenheimer, has helped UK cinema revenues surpass £1 billion for the first time since the pandemic. The Barbie movie was also the most downloaded film of the year. The UK screen industry as a whole grew by 5.6% to £12.5 billion in 2023, driven by the increasing popularity of subscription services.

Telecom Firms Recruiting Apprentices

BT Group is offering over 500 apprenticeship roles in software engineering, customer service, applied research, data analytics, and cybersecurity. Virgin Media O2 is creating 200 apprenticeship and intern positions in field engineering and finance for individuals with no prior work experience or CVs. Both companies aim to provide opportunities for talented young people who are often overlooked due to a lack of experience.

Superdry Considers Cost-Saving Options

Fashion brand Superdry has seen a 7% increase in shares after confirming that it is exploring various cost-saving options. The chain recently reported a sharp decline in sales and warned shareholders that its recovery may take time. Cost-saving measures could include store closures and job cuts, with the company already having closed 12 stores and on track to save £40 million this year.

Ryanair's Profits Hit by Fuel Costs

Ryanair has reported a drop in profits for the third quarter of the year due to surging fuel costs. Profits fell to £12.8 million, down from £180 million the previous year, despite a 17% increase in revenues. The airline was also forced to reduce prices in December to counter the decision by some online travel agents to remove Ryanair from their platforms. Ryanair's full-year results are heavily dependent on avoiding any unforeseen adverse events.

Flutter Considers Moving Stock Market Listing to New York

British gambling company Flutter is considering moving its stock market listing to New York. After listing its shares on the New York exchange for the first time, Flutter plans to ask shareholders to approve a primary listing move to the US. The company hopes that this move will attract more interest from US investors while maintaining a secondary listing in London.

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