The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has reported a significant slowdown in UK shop price inflation, with annual rates dropping to 0.2% in June 2024, down from 0.6% in May and marking the lowest rate since October 2021.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, commented on the findings: “During the height of the cost-of-living crisis, retailers invested heavily in improving their operations and supply chains to compensate for the impact of global shocks on input costs.”

According to Dickinson, the statistics released just before Thursday’s UK general election highlighted that higher business expenses drive rising consumer prices.

Dickinson called on the next government to address major cost burdens facing the retail industry, including the business rates system and apprenticeship levy, to enable further price reductions and ease cost of living pressures.

“By doing so, retailers can invest in lower prices for the future – helping to reduce the cost-of-living pressures that many families face,” she said.

Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at NielsenIQ, added that the slowing shop price inflation would benefit consumers planning their household budgets. He predicted that intense competition in the marketplace would keep price increases low throughout the summer.

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Dickinson offered her insights into the UK elections when Just Style analysed the stance of the five major political parties in the UK election – Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Green and Reform – to explore how their policies could affect the apparel industry if they were to gain a majority and come into power next week.