British Retail Consortium (BRC) sent “Helping Shoppers Budget” proposal to the Chancellor

British Retail Consortium (BRC) sent “Helping Shoppers Budget” proposal to the Chancellor

Business and consumers are looking to the Chancellor’s upcoming Budget for action to support consumer spending and help encourage private sector investment.

LONDON, 2017-Oct-25 — /EPR Retail News/ — In a submission entitled Helping Shoppers Budget, sent to the Chancellor last week, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) proposes a series of targeted measures to support the retail industry in maximising its future contribution to the UK’s success and playing its part in supporting the country through a period of profound change and uncertainty.

Retail is one of the world’s most innovative industries, the UK’s largest private sector employer and an industry which is finding efficiencies at a faster rate than many others – which in Government speak means it’s outpacing average productivity growth in the UK. It is also an industry undergoing profound structural change, being driven by the ever increasing demands of customers and the technology revolution.

The BRC points to the risk of an opportunity missed. A backdrop of rising labour and property costs is altering the attractiveness of investment options, as the cost of technology falls and digital capability improves. This has profound implications for much needed investments in local communities, new and refurbished shops, and of course jobs.The implications of this are that it’s the most vulnerable communities that will suffer the negative consequences most acutely.

Specifically, the BRC is recommending that the UK Government:

  • Freezes the business rates multiplier in April 2018 which otherwise will increase the bill of every rate payer in the country and simultaneously divert £270m of retail investment from delivering for consumers and away from local investment.
  • Keeps the cost of living down for consumers by not increasing income tax rates for the majority of taxpayers and considers accelerating increases in the personal allowance if the squeeze on consumers persists.
  • Gives itself the best chance of ensuring its flagship apprenticeship policy is successful by providing additional flexibility in how apprenticeship levy funds can be spent.
  • Works in partnership with retail to enhance the basic digital literacy skills of the large parts of the workforce being left behind by the technology revolution and to increase the amount of UK manufacturing of textiles and clothing.
  • Ensures business does not face double regulatory charges or new financial burdens from the Withdrawal Bill and makes the necessary investment in infrastructure at ports and border control points to ensure an orderly exit from the EU.


Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the BRC said:

“At a time of uncertainty for both the economy and the country, it’s important we set ourselves up for success.

“The cumulative burden of Government imposed costs has become acute. Indeed, September’s inflation figures mean retailers are faced with a £270 million leap in their business rate tax bills alone next Spring. With retailers’ margins being squeezed to their limit, this is money that could be better spent investing in keeping prices low for consumers, in local communities up and down the country and in developing a workforce which is fit for the future.

“Without the Chancellor’s intervention, the consequences for town centres and jobs will be even more keenly felt in the most vulnerable communities. For consumers, the squeeze on household incomes will be compounded as the pound in their pocket buys them even less at the checkout.

“Retailers want to help build the confidence of their customers, us all as shoppers, not damage it. But to do this they need the support of Government policy that keeps down the cost of living, not exacerbates it. That encourages, rather than deters the retail investment necessary to meet constantly evolving customer expectations. And finally, policy action that enables retailers to maximise their vital contribution to the Government’s productivity aspirations.”


SOURCE: British Retail Consortium


  • TELEPHONE+ 44 (0) 20 7854 8924
  • OUT OF HOURS+44 (0) 7557747269

British Retail Consortium: Shop prices in June edged closer to ending a four-year deflationary trend

London, 2017-Jul-05 — /EPR Retail News/ —


Period Covered: 05 — 09 June 2017

  • Overall shop price deflation was 0.3 per cent in June, a slight deceleration from the 0.4 per cent fall in May. This is the shallowest deflation rate since November 2013.
  • The deflation of non-food products was 1.4 per cent, comparable to May’s deflation of 1.5 per cent and April’s of 1.4 per cent.
  • Food prices increased on average by 1.4 per cent in June, a similar pace to the 1.4 per cent May increase and the highest since January 2014.
  • Fresh food prices seem to be on an upward trajectory, recording a 1.4 per cent increase in June, 0.2 percentage points higher than in May. This is the highest increase since February 2014.
  • Ambient food inflation stood at 1.5 per cent in June, a slowdown from the 1.8% increase in May.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium:

“Shop prices in June edged closer to ending a four-year deflationary trend, as feed-through from the depreciation of the pound and rising commodity prices continues.

“The fact that the headline number, -0.3 per cent, shows that prices are still down on last year should not be misunderstood. The year on year numbers belie the fact that prices have been heading upwards for the last six months; it’s just that significant deflation in the second half of 2016 means there has been considerable ground to make up in the year on year figures.

“Although heading upwards, the speed of price increases was checked in June. Food price inflation was steady on last month, albeit in firmly positive territory; whilst varied performances in the non-food categories netted out to a slight reduction in deflation.

“The steadying of inflation in June is likely a brief hiatus; resulting from the interplay of short term influences on pricing, such as good weather delaying mid-season promotions into June and the longer term competitive pressures constraining the pass through of all costs. We expect shop price inflation to continue trending upwards in coming months.

“The reality is that cost pressures faced by retailers continue to mount. These pressures arise both from market driven increases in the underlying cost of goods and as a result of Government policies. There is a limit to the ability of retailers to protect consumers by absorbing these impacts into their margins, as a result further price increases are inevitable. With that in mind and with the UK’s trading relationships under discussion, it’s of the utmost importance that the Government does all it can to limit any further cost increases that could further adversely impact the finances of the UK’s consumers.”

Mike Watkins, Head of Retailer and Business Insight, Nielsen:

“With inflation rising in essential goods and services, many households are now seeing their monthly household expenditure come under pressure.  Whilst this may add to the uncertainty around discretionary spending, the good news is that shop prices are increasing at a slower rate. Shoppers are also able to find further savings in retail with low price strategies across the grocery sector and competition across the marketplace keeping prices as low as possible.“

BRC Press Office
TELEPHONE: + 44 (0) 20 7854 8924
OUT OF HOURS: +44 (0) 7557 747 269

Source: BRC

BRITISH RETAIL CONSORTIUM: Overall shop prices reported deflation of 1.0% in February

  • Overall shop prices reported deflation of 1.0% in February, a sharp deceleration from the 1.7% fall in January.
  • Non-food deflation decelerated to 1.8% in February, an easing from the 2.3% decline in the previous month.
  • Food reported inflation of 0.4% in February, a sharp acceleration from the 0.8% fall in January. This is the first inflationary rise since April 2016.
  • Fresh Food reported a marginal inflation rate in February, up 0.1% from the 1.2% fall in each of the previous three months.
  • Ambient Food reported annual inflation for the second time in three months, rising 0.8% in February from the 0.2% decline in January.


“Shop prices in February were 1 per cent lower than the same month last year, continuing a trend of year-on-year price falls that has lasted nearly four years.

“However, it is clear that the significant underlying cost pressures, which have been building over the last year are beginning to filter through into shop prices. Global food prices were on average 16 per cent higher at the beginning of this year compared to last, whilst over the same period the value of the pound fell around 15 per cent. Despite this, February saw an increase of just 0.4 per cent in the prices of food sold in shops; proving retailers’ resilience in managing to largely shield consumers from cost increases.“For the time being, consumers continue to benefit from an annual fall in non-food prices, which were down 1.8 per cent on the previous year. However, the rate of deflation has eased considerably from a monthly perspective, which can be explained in part by an end to the promotional activity in January, after a weak festive sales performance in some non- food categories.

“Looking further ahead, retailers, who operate in a highly competitive market with narrow margins, will be increasingly hard pushed to protect their customers from the inevitable impact of these rising cost pressures. We can therefore expect this impact to start manifesting in shop prices over the course of the year.”


“Whilst food inflation has returned, the competition between retailers means that price increases passed onto consumers in February were relatively small, and there were also some seasonal and weather related increases. Non-food prices remain deflationary and in part this reflects the structural change underway in non-food retailing. At the moment consumer sentiment around spending intentions is strong so we don’t anticipate any significant change on retail spend over the next few months even if shop price inflation gains more momentum.”

BRC Press Office
TELEPHONE: + 44 (0) 20 7854 8924

Source: BRC

British Retail Consortium comments on the relaxation of Sunday Trading hours in UK

LONDON, 2016-Feb-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — Responding to today’s announcement by government that it plans to extend Sunday opening hours by amending the Enterprise Bill, the BRC said: “There are different views across retail over whether the relaxation of Sunday Trading hours is a good or a bad thing for retailers and their staff. This is much more dependent on the structure of individual business than their size or location, which both local government and central government must keep in mind.

“If relaxation is to be implemented, then it is vitally important that it’s done in the right way. We have been encouraging the Government to only devolve these new powers to directly elected mayors of combined authorities in the first instance in addition to implementing crucial safeguards including proper impact assessments, robust community consultation and an appeals process. These are vital given ‘zoning’ appears to still be on the table which would could lead to consumer confusion and the potential for some businesses to be unfairly excluded.”

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the BRC said: “These proposals are unlikely to give retailers and the communities they serve the boost the Government is hoping to deliver. Instead the Government should be concentrating its efforts on finally delivering fundamental reform of the business rates system which would provide much greater support to the reinvention of high streets across the country and particularly in areas which are struggling.

“There is common agreement that an inconsistent approach to these plans without safeguards will be difficult for businesses to manage and confusing for consumers.”


For media enquiries please contact Bryan Johnston 020 7854 8936

British Retail Consortium: December 2015 saw just 1 per cent retail sales growth YoY

  • UK retail sales rose by 0.1% on a like-for-like basis from December 2014, when they had decreased 0.4% from the preceding year. On a total basis, sales were up 1.0%, against a 1.0% rise in December 2014.
  • Adjusted for the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index deflation, total growth was 3.0%.
  • Total growth was above the 3-month average of 0.9% but weaker than the 12-month average of 1.7%.
  • Total Food sales grew 0.2% over the three months to December and 0.3% over the twelve months. On a three-month basis, total Non-Food sales were up 1.5%, the weakest growth since January 2013.
  • Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 15.1% in December versus a year earlier, when they had grown 7.0%. The Non-Food online penetration rate was 19.7%, up 2.4 percentage points from December 2014.

LONDON, 2016-1-12 — /EPR Retail News/ — Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium, said: “2015 drew to a disappointing close for retailers, with December seeing just 1 per cent sales growth, notwithstanding the strong underlying momentum of an improving consumer environment buoyed by rising real incomes, low inflation and low unemployment. Online performed strongly as consumers embraced the convenience and flexibility that more sophisticated retailers offered. Nevertheless, the boost from online was not enough to make this a Christmas to remember for most retailers. The three month rolling total sales across all categories was the weakest for the entire year, with only 0.9 per cent growth, while non-food saw its slowest performance since January 2013.

“Looking at the year as a whole, the strongest performing categories include those related to the home, supported by a robust housing market, renewed strength in mortgage approvals and a generally healthier appetite among consumer for credit. With price deflation and offers aplenty, the current retail climate is great news for consumers, however retailers are not benefiting from the improved economic climate in the same way that other sectors have done. This is in part due to changing consumer shopping habits and the rising cost of doing business for retailers such as business rates and the national living wage due to be introduced in April. The Government has a prime opportunity in March’s budget to help UK retailers continue to drive growth in the economy and create new jobs by reducing the disproportionate burden of business rates and keep going with its structural review.”

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: “Despite a number of positive economic indicators, retail sales over Christmas were relatively flat with more products on discount and the depth of discounting also deeper.

“Although retailers tried to tame Black Friday 2015, it still had a significant impact on the shape of sales over the festive season, spreading spend over six weeks rather than two. Fashion sales were the losers in December as mild weather deferred the need and wet weather deferred the inclination to try and buy a new winter outfit.

“The grocers had a fairly admirable Christmas with total food and drink sales back in the black for the first time since September in spite of the persistent price deflation in the sector.

“December’s star performer was Home Accessories as consumers “decked the halls” with baubles and fairy lights to get into the festive spirit. Children’s Toys also had a good month as Santa delivered to “those who’d been nice” on Christmas morning.”

British Retail Consortium, 21 Dartmouth Street, Westminster, London, SW1H 9BP.
020 7854 8900.

British Retail Consortium: food waste in supermarkets during 2014 was 180,000 tonnes, down from 200,000 tonnes in 2013

  • Combined industry food waste is down by 20,000 tonnes
  • Figures published in line with transparency commitment
  • Retailers working with supply chain partners to achieve sustained reduction in food waste

LONDON, 2015-11-02  — /EPR Retail News/  —  A group of leading UK retailers have for the second time published a combined food waste figure, in line with a commitment to increase transparency and report on progress annually in this area. A British Retail Consortium (BRC) report, which details the practical steps supermarkets are taking to reduce waste, reveals the total amount of waste which occurred in supermarkets 2014 was 180,000 tonnes, down from 200,000 tonnes in 2013. This figure was calculated using data from seven major supermarkets* and was independently collated by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

While this decrease in food waste is positive, when looking at the supply chain as a whole, retailers still account for just a little over one per cent of the estimated 15 million tonnes of food which is wasted in the UK each year. A considerably higher proportion of this waste occurs at other stages along the supply chain including at the farm and manufacturing stages as well as within the home.

UK retailers can and do use their position at the heart of the supply chain to influence the amount of food wasted both in the supply chain and at home. BRC members have an ongoing commitment in this area and individual retailers are working on a range of projects and initiatives focused on their own operations, on suppliers and on households to prevent food waste from occurring in the first place. These are outlined in greater detail in today’s BRC Report.

Retailers are also working very closely with redistribution organisations across the UK to ensure that where they do have useable surplus food, as much as possible goes to the people who need it most. Where food waste does arise, retailers continue to find the most appropriate way of utilising it effectively, with many retailers now sending zero food waste to landfill.

BRC Director of Food & Sustainability, Andrew Opie, said:

“While we welcome the fact that retail food waste levels are falling, it is nevertheless important to continue to focus attention and efforts on where the biggest reductions in food waste can be made and that is in the supply chain and at home. As an industry, we have a huge contribution to make and we will continue our work with suppliers and customers to build on the progress we have already achieved.”

* The participating retailers are Asda, Co-operative Food, Marks and Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose. In 2013 those retailers agreed a set of common rules and working with WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) calculated a UK food retail sector waste figure of around 200,000 tonnes (accounting for 86 per cent of the UK market)


Notes for Editors:

1. Retail is the first and only UK industry to take the progressive approach of publishing a combined food waste figure in line with a commitment to increase transparency and has committed to report on progress on an annual basis

2. The participating retailers have agreed to voluntary targets on food and packaging waste through the Courtauld Commitments, coordinated by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and supported by the four UK governments

3. This figure is non-comparable with figures for food waste from individual retailers. There are a number of significant differences in methodology, scope, timescale and coverage that mean these figures should not be compared directly

4. The figure is based on data reported by retailers to WRAP to measure progress against the Courtauld Commitment 3 manufacture and retail target. This data is audited and relates to 2014

5. Today WRAP is reporting progress made by grocery manufacturers and retailers in 2014 – the second year of the Courtauld Commitment 3. Retail food waste is included in the manufacture and retail target but is published as a combined figure which includes manufacturing and packaging waste

6. It is estimated by WRAP that around 15 million tonnes of food and drink is wasted in the UK each year

7. The supermarket food waste figure forms part of the BRC’s ambitious annual progress report on its A Better Retailing Climate initiative which reports on the retail industry’s progress on sustainability and environmental issues

8. The figure relates to food waste only and does not include primary packaging associated with food waste

9. Food waste arises at retail level for a variety of reasons such as expiry of use by date, product recall, breakages, damages and products taken out of the chill chain

10. The attached infographic to the right shows the amount of food wasted in the food value chain

11. Please also find attached to the right the food waste report

12. Given the large volumes of food waste in the UK grocery supply chain and the lack of detailed data on agricultural food waste, food waste on farm is becoming a focus of attention. We are working with our members on this issue and we are planning to hold a round table event in early 2016.

For media enquiries please contact Laura Blumenthal 020 7854 8924

Source : British Retail Consortium


British Retail Consortium: better news for food sales this August with a clear improvement compared with July

  • UK retail sales decreased 1.0% on a like-for-like basis from August 2014, when they had increased 1.3% on the preceding year. On a total basis, sales were up 0.1%, against a 2.7% rise in August 2014.
  • In the three months to August, total Food sales were up 0.3%. The twelve-month average total Food growth turned positive for the first time since August 2014. Non-Food sales declined in August, for the first time since August 2014.
  • The fall of the Bank Holiday into the September period this year distorted the figures of the back-to-school-sensitive categories. Clothing, Footwear, Stationery, Furniture, Household Appliances experienced declines.
  • Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 6.5% in August versus a year earlier, when they had grown 19.8% and established the 2014 best performance. This was the slowest growth registered since April 2013. The Non-Food online penetration rate was 17.2%, up from 16.3% in August 2014.

LONDON, 2015-9-8 — /EPR Retail News/ — Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: “There was better news for food sales this August with a clear improvement compared with July. This, coupled with a positive twelve month average for the first time since August of last year, suggests there may be cause for optimism for food sales following a prolonged period of stagnation.

“While non-food sales over the last three months are up three per cent overall, they were down in August. However the figures were likely distorted by the fact that they do not include the Bank Holiday which will be accounted for in the September period this year. At this time of the year parents are busily shopping for back-to-school essentials like clothes, footwear and stationery and those sales will peak later this year. Large ticket item categories like furniture and household appliances also experienced a decline in sales, again likely affected by the Bank Holiday distortion.

“Retailers will hope to recoup that sales deficit in September and to start feeling the effect of higher real wages.”

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: “As the summer bank holiday fell a week later this year, sales were pushed into September meaning top-line trends for August were inevitably dampened (along with the weather) versus 2014.

“Overall, August sales were down 1% on a like-for-like basis with fashion and footwear hit particularly hard as families delayed back-to-school purchases and wet weather deferred the impetus to shop. Furniture spending also fell due to the timing of the bank holiday.

“The grocers however, fared slightly better, with total food sales showing a positive direction of travel over the three months from June.

“September sales will get a shot in the arm from the bank holiday and the comradery of the Rugby World Cup. However, the fashion world will be hoping that last year’s ‘Indian summer’ does not repeat itself, resulting in heavy discounting to move seasonal items.”

British Retail Consortium, 21 Dartmouth Street, Westminster, London, SW1H 9BP.
020 7854 8900.

British Retail Consortium subsidiary On-Pack Recycling Label Ltd short-listed as a finalist in the 2015 National Recycling Awards

LONDON, 2015-4-6 — /EPR Retail News/ — The On-Pack Recycling Label Ltd has been short-listed as a finalist in the 2015 National Recycling Awards, recognising the increasing contribution the labelling system makes in promoting recycling in the UK.

As the not-for-profit scheme enters its seventh year of operations it’s celebrating double recognition for its work. Not only is OPRL a finalist in the Retailer/Service Sector Recycler of the Year category of the National Recycling Awards, it was recently honoured with a Bronze Zero Waste Award for its achievements during 2014.

Jane Bevis, Chair of OPRL Ltd, said: “We’re thrilled to be finalists in the prestigious National Recycling Awards. OPRL is now coming of age as the label is seen on tens of thousands of product lines and is recognised by 6 in 10 consumers. Householders tell us they act on our label – 7 in 10 checking the label follow the advice either to recycle or put packaging in waste, depending on the material. No other label gives you that information, but it’s vital in ensuring contaminant-free recyclate can then be used to make new packaging or products.”

“Coming so soon after we received our Bronze Zero Waste Award in March makes it doubly exciting as it shows our peers across the recycling sector recognise the contribution OPRL is making. So many enquiries and reports identify consumer engagement as the key to closing the packaging resource loop and our labels achieve this in ways other schemes simply can’t.”

“A huge thanks must go to all our members who’ve done so much to get the label onto packaging and worked to provide in-store and bring bank facilities where kerbside collections are not available. They’re our recycling heroes.”

Notes to Editors:
1) The scheme is operated by On-Pack Recycling Label Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Retail Consortium, under licence from WRAP. WRAP provides technical support and measures local authorities’ recycling capabilities determining the labelling category for each packaging material.

2) The label has three categories which tell consumers how likely it is that their local authority accepts a particular packaging material for recycling. The categories are:
– Widely recycled (75% or more of local authorities collect that material).
– Check local recycling (between 20% and 75% of local authorities collect that material).
– Not currently recycled (less than 20% of local authorities collect that material).

3) The winners of the NRA Retailer/Service Sector Recycler of the Year will be announced at the MRW National Recycling Awards 2015 on Wednesday 1 July 2015 at the London Hilton.

4) The 2014 Zero Waste Award winners were announced in March and will be awarded at a ceremony at Coombe Abbey in Warwickshire on Thursday 9 April 2015.

5) The On-Pack Recycling Label Ltd is a supporter of the National Recycling Awards 2015.

6) A full list of OPRL scheme members is available at Further information at

Media Contacts: Jane Bevis on 07585 047457

British Retail Consortium: Q4 2014 online retail figures clearly demonstrate the appetite of consumers across the globe for UK retail

LONDON, 2015-2-2 — /EPR Retail News/ — Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: “Today’s figures clearly demonstrate the appetite of consumers across the globe for UK retail. This presents an enormous market opportunity for retailers regardless of their size.

“One of the key trends retailers will be paying close attention to is, in the emerging markets, the first digital point of contact for a huge number of consumers is a smartphone or tablet device. This is because in many of those markets mobile infrastructure is far superior to the fixed line broadband networks in more established economies like the UK. This means that if Britain’s retailers want to take advantage of the interest being abroad they’ll need to continue their investment in device-optimised platforms; ensuring that no matter how a customer first comes into contact with them they can offer the world beating service that is the hallmark of British retailing.

“It is absolutely clear from today’s statistics that there is an international market for UK retailers and there is strong international demand for their products. In order to take best advantage of this it is incumbent on governments and international regulators to ensure that they help, not hinder, UK retailers reach keen consumers around the globe.”

Peter Fitzgerald, Retail Director, Google, said: “The growth of mobile and connected devices continued to power our clients’ Export efforts in 2014, with many of the largest emerging and established markets seeing astounding smartphone growth. Understanding the role of mobile in the purchase process is vital if retailers are to unlock its full value.

“In the UK you can’t talk about Q4 without mentioning Black Friday, which saw phenomenal uptake with four times as many searches for Black Friday deals in 2014 than in the previous year. Given these impressive figures, we expect to see interest in Black Friday continue to grow in 2015.

“British leisure brands really blazed a trail this Christmas, with an impressive 285% increase in searches compared to the same period in 2013. Beauty and personal care also saw a real surge of interest, with fragrances, candles, and skincare products all seeing impressive year on year search growth.”

British Retail Consortium, 21 Dartmouth Street, Westminster, London, SW1H 9BP.
020 7854 8900.

British Retail Consortium: September’s Retail Price Index increase reminds of the ever-increasing burden of business rates

LONDON, 2014-10-15— /EPR Retail News/ — The ONS has today announced that the Retail Price Index for September rose 2.3 per cent. This figure is normally used as the basis for calculating the next year’s increase in business rates.

There is a clear consensus across British industry that more needs to be done to address the negative impact that the rates system is having on investment and employment opportunities.

Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium Director General, said: “This is a painful time in a retailer’s annual calendar as they are reminded of the ever-increasing burden of business rates. This rate only ever goes up. Retailers welcomed the steps taken by the Chancellor in last year’s Autumn Statement to mitigate these increases.

“It is essential that business rate increases are capped again to ensure the survival of our town centres and high streets until fundamental reform has been considered and implemented. We welcome the ongoing public discussion on this issue and we note that it has been recommended that the increase for 2015 should be confined to being one per cent below RPI and frozen in the following year. We would be supportive of such measures providing a degree of affordability for businesses.

“It is worth noting that reform will take time, and business needs clarity and certainty beyond one year time horizons to have confidence to invest in the meantime. That is why we are asking politicians to commit to including a more fundamental review of rates in their proposed programme for the next government”.

Media Enquiries: Bryan Johnston 020 7854 8936