The London-based British Retail Consortium (BRC) reports that shop price inflation accelerated in the United Kingdom during March of 2019 to 0.9%, up from 0.7% in February. This is the highest inflation rate since March of 2013.
Food inflation rose to 2.5%, up from 1.6% in February to mark the highest inflation rate since November of 2013.
“March saw shop price inflation rise to its highest level in six years, driven primarily by a sharp spike in non-perishable food inflation,” said Helen Dickinson, the BRC’s chief executive. “Increases in global commodity prices and adverse weather events put upward pressures on the wholesale prices of many foodstuffs.”
“Nonetheless,” she added, “the bigger threat to food inflation remains the risks of a chaotic no-deal Brexit, which would lead to higher prices and less choice on the shelves. In order to avoid this scenario, parliamentarians from all parties must find a compromise that can command a majority in the House of Commons.”
Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at Nielsen, weighed in as follows: “The upward pressure on pricing continues across food retailing, and a key driver this month was inflation in ambient food and drink. With shoppers looking to stretch their budget for the weekly grocery shop this will not help volume growth, which has been slowing since the start of the year.”