Good news for Christmas shoppers today after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that prices are falling faster than at any time since 2002.
In-store prices are now 1.5% lower than 12 months ago, one explanation for why sales rose by 4.3% in comparison with last October and 0.8% since last month. This followed an unexpected drop in September caused, according to the experts, by the mild weather and a dearth of winter coat purchases. (They are probably right as I only bought mine last week).
Also, the increasing power of Aldi and Lidl have forced the established supermarkets to reduce their prices to compete, whilst online retailers have in turn compelled high street stores to up their game.
But whilst prices are falling in the shops, retailers’ margins are still expected to be supported because of falling costs including production costs which are benefitting from cheaper oil prices.
With Black Friday and Mega Monday on the horizon – and falling on the same weekend for the first time in six years – and promotions aplenty being planned, the climate suggests a much merrier Christmas for many this year than for some time.
Let’s hope so.