Shop prices have fallen for the fifth consecutive month, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
All items experienced a 0.4% year-on-year drop, with non-food prices decreasing 1.5% year-on-year.
Food, fresh food and ambient food experienced a year-on-year increase of 1.6%, 0.8% and 2.7%, respectively.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson OBE said: “Consumers continue to benefit from lower shop prices, with October being the fifth consecutive month of decline. Non-food prices have fallen well below the 12-month average, with greater discounting taking place as retailers seek to stimulate additional sales. The year has seen relatively weak sales and retailers hope that Black Friday and Christmas will reverse this trend with the help of lower prices.”
Nielsen head of retailer and business insight Mike Watkins said: “With an uncertain economic outlook at the start of the ‘golden quarter,’ the industry has been working hard to stimulate demand and to keep price increases as low as possible. Seasonal ranges are now in store, and we can expect an increase in promotional activity in the run-up to Christmas, which will give shoppers further savings at the checkout.”
Retail sector continues to feel threat of no-deal Brexit
Dickinson added: “Rising global food prices and the higher oil prices from earlier this year will increase costs for retailers. These factors come as the industry struggles with the burden of public policy costs, such as business rates, which is weighing heavily on the industry and keeping margins at record lows.
“Furthermore, while the threat of a no-deal Brexit has been pushed back, it has not gone away. To remove this threat and the price rises that would result, the government must secure an agreement with the EU as soon as possible to give consumers and retailers the certainty they need.”
Last week, the BRC reported that UK retail employment had fallen by 85,000 people in the third quarter 2019, a year-on-year fall of 2.8%. The fall was also partially attributed to the “weak consumer demand and Brexit uncertainty [that] continues to put pressure on retailers already focused on delivering the transformation taking place in the industry.”