Prices continue to fall

[31 July] Shop prices continued to fall through July, as non-food products dropped in value. Prices slid by 1.3% in the month, which is a slight slowdown in deflation from June, when prices dropped by 1.6% according to BRC-Nielsen figures. Falling prices are hoped to tempt shoppers back to the high streets and away from online retailers.

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium said: “Falling prices at tills is good news for shoppers and will hopefully tempt more people on to our high streets and retail destinations. Sectors which saw a release of pent-up demand, such as electricals and furniture, saw fewer promotions.”

Lidl leads the way

Food costs have remained unchanged, with inflation steady at 1.5% for the third consecutive month. At the grocery checkouts, Lidl was leading the way in sales growth with a rise in sales of 10.3%, upping its share of the market by 0.2% to 6.2% this year. Tesco, which has 56 stores here, still holds the top spot with a share of 35.3% of the market followed by Sainsbury’s (17.2%) and Asda (16%). Sainsbury’s has 14 stores here, and Asda 17 (Kantar).

With mobility increasing and people travelling further for shopping, basket totals in convenience stores have continued to drop, with average spend of £8.16 for the week commencing 13th July. In contrast, the same period in 2019 saw basket totals of £6.10, so although there has been a drop since the peak of lockdown, it’s evident that spend is still above average.

Eat out to help out

Monday sees the launch of ‘Eat out to help out’, a government scheme to aid recovery in the hospitality industry. Every Monday – Wednesday in August, diners in a huge range of restaurants and bars will be able to save up to £10 per person on their food bill, boosting the number of people in towns and cities as well as bringing vital trade to an industry hit badly by lockdown.

Footfall continues to build in retail locations across the UK, with high street footfall increasing to just under 60% of its level for the same day in 2019, while shopping centres and retail parks remained steady at just under 80% and 60% respectively (ONS/Springboard).  According to Springboard, footfall across NI increased by 9.4%, higher than the national average of 4.4%. High streets here experienced an 11% rise last week, with retail parks and shopping centres seeing footfall grow by 1% and 4.3% respectively.