Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium:
“As we approach the Christmas period, retailers are facing stiff competition; driving down the prices of many goods including clothing and electricals. This comes at a particularly difficult time, with lower consumer demand, a weak pound and rising public policy costs all putting pressure on retail margins.
“Monday’s Chancellor’s Budget did not go far enough to alleviate the unsustainable pressures being exerted on businesses large and small. With numerous household names disappearing from the high street, it is clear that the burden of business rates is simply too high and this unsustainable system needs urgent reform to enable the successful reinvention of our high streets into modern and diverse places where people want to spend more time.”
Mike Watkins, Head of Retailer and Business Insight, Nielsen:
“The inflationary cost pressures in the supply chains are being managed by the industry which tempered the recent upward pressure of shop price inflation in October. Non-food continues to show deflation with discounting continuing, especially within discretionary items. Consumers remain uncertain about when and where to spend and with Christmas promotions now kicking in, competition for share of wallet will intensify in both food and non-food retailing. And after a slow start to the quarter and with CPI remaining above the Bank of England target, we can expect retailers to offer some additional incentives to encourage shoppers to spend.”