U.K. Shop Prices Hold Steady in October

By Toby Luckhurst Features Dow Jones Newswires

U.K. shop prices were unchanged in October, dipping 0.1% in annual terms, thanks to conflicting price pressures.

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Food prices rose 2.2% while all other products saw on average a 1.5% price fall, the same as in September, according to the British Retail Consortium-Nielsen Shop Price Index.

BRC Chief Executive Helen Dickinson said inflation forces were pulling prices "in both directions." The squeeze on disposable income in the U.K. means retailers cannot pass on higher import costs amid a weaker pound and the rising price of food globally.

Stock-clearing sales have led to a drop in clothing and furniture prices, while electronics prices rose year-on-year in October for the first time since the Shop Price Index began in 2006.

The shop price data comes ahead of Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond's upcoming budget on Nov. 22. Recent economic data has shown the strains Britain's exit from the European Union is placing on living standards.

A report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies published on Monday highlighted the difficulties the Chancellor faces in keeping to the government's policy of borrowing and debt reduction.

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Write to Toby Luckhurst at toby.luckhurst@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 31, 2017 20:15 ET (00:15 GMT)