Low inflation rate shows retailers offering ‘great value’

Shifting spending  patterns have caused  the CSO to significantly  alter the products included  in the ‘basket of goods’ that it uses to monitor inflation
Organic Irish fruit and vegetables have a 7% share of the organic fresh produce market in Ireland, Bord Bia reports

The CSO Consumer Price Index shows retailers are offering value - at the expense of their own margins - as business costs haven't fallen in line with price cuts



12 March 2012

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The newly published CSO Consumer Price Index shows retailers are keeping prices low and consumers continue to avail of great value, IBEC group Retail Ireland has said. 

The figures show falls in the price of food and non-alcoholic beverages, clothing and footwear and furnishings and household items during the January sales period. 
According to Retail Ireland director Stephen Lynam, there was “an overall fall in goods prices of 0.8% in January. When prices are compared with the same month last year, goods price inflation is very low at 0.7%. The bulk of price inflation in the Irish economy is coming from services.”
He added that price cuts have “eaten into retailers’ margins as the cost of doing business has not fallen to match the very difficult trading environment. Since 2008 retail sales have declined by 30% and over 50,000 jobs have been lost in the sector.”
In Lynam’s view, the government needs to do “much more” to help retailers.
“Costs remain very high when compared to our competitors. We need to see tangible reforms that will bring down local authority charges, utility costs and rents. Until that happens, job creation will be hampered,” he said.
The CSO also recently announced that the goods used to measure inflation have now changed for the first time in five years, as a result of dramatically shifting spending patterns during the recession.
Accordingly, 27 new items have been added to the basket of goods that the CSO uses to work out monthly price changes, while 26 have been deleted. 
Interestingly, low-fat milk has replaced full-fat milk in the basket. Champagne and fine wines have also been taken out of the basket as, according to alcohol retailers, such high-end products account for less than 5% of the total alcohol spend.
Other items deemed no longer relevant enough to be counted in the basket include tinned spaghetti, suntan oil, collars of bacon, ladies’ slippers and court shoes, rented DVDs, the CD single and the man’s overcoat.


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