More pain for UK consumers as food prices rise

London — UK grocery prices rose 1.7% year-on-year in the four weeks to October 3, market researcher Canter said Tuesday, putting pressure on households already facing soaring energy bills. rice field.

Amid rising inflationary pressures on the UK economy, a Bank of England policymaker on Saturday instructed households to prepare for an early rise in interest rates.

Meanwhile, pollster YouGov and consultancy CEBR released a survey on Monday that consumer confidence has fallen to its lowest level in five months.

In markets such as delicious snacks, cat food and potato chips, prices are rising most rapidly, while fresh bacon and vegetables are declining, Canter said.

“In the real world, the average household had to spend an additional £ 5.94. [$8.08] Fraser McKebit, Head of Retail and Consumer Insights at Canter, said:

“A typical household spends £ 4,726 [$6,421] In supermarkets, almost every year, future price increases will be added immediately. “

Kantar first reported that food prices began to rise again in August. In the September report, it was up 1.3%.

But Tesco, Britain’s largest supermarket group, said last week that prices were still declining.

UK grocery sales were down 1.2% year-on-year in the 12 weeks to October 3, but higher than before the pandemic and up 8.1% compared to the same period in 2019, according to Canter. bottom.

Some shoppers are starting to look at Christmas, with Christmas pudding sales up 76% year-on-year, toy sales up 5%, and gift wrapping sales up 10% in the last four weeks. doing.

“But these are still relatively few, and it’s important to say that concerns about supply issues, whether festivals or not, haven’t been translated into panic buying,” McKebit said.

However, many countries saw a fuel buyout last month as a shortage of tank truck drivers led to supply disruptions.

Decreased fuel availability meant limiting the number of times people went to supermarkets.

The average household has visited 15.5 times in the last four weeks, the lowest monthly since February.

Conversely, the proportion of groceries purchased online rose from 12.2% in September to 12.4%.

Tesco, which raised its profit outlook last week, gained market share by 0.6 points to reach 27.5% in 12 weeks. This is the highest level since February 2019.

Tesco sales increased 1.2%, but declined at its major rivals Sainsbury, Asda and Morrisons.

Separately, UK shoppers increased spending in September at the slowest pace since January, according to Tuesday data released by the UK Retail Consortium.

James Davy