Challenges loom for UK retailers

Dec 5, 2023

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has voiced concerns to Prime Minster Rishi Sunak about the potential repercussions of the cost of living crisis on retailers.

The consortium cited Government measures, including Brexit red tape and higher business rates outlined in Jeremy Hunt's recent Autumn Statement, as potential contributors to inflation next year.

Despite a decline in the BRC's annual shop price inflation measure from 5.2% in October to 4.3% in November, the organisation clarified that this signifies a slower rate of increase rather than a decrease in shop prices.

The BRC also questioned the sustainability of the nearly 10% increase in the National Living Wage to £11.44 per hour from next spring.

Helen Dickinson, CEO of the BRC, said:

"Looking ahead to 2024, retailers will have to shoulder many new cost pressures, including a rise to business rates, as well as costs from other new regulations.

"These combined with the biggest rise on record to the National Living Wage will mean retailers will have less capital to invest in lowering prices for their customers."

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