Bargain hunting shoppers try to beat rising inflation in Britain

The effect of Brexit is steadily having an impact on the British economy.

As per the results of a survey, British shoppers are increasingly looking for bargains to offset rising inflation with employers finding it difficult to recruit migrant workers. These trends are a result of 2016’s Brexit referendum.

As per the British Retail Consortium, although total retail sales recorded their strongest year-on-year growth in the last six years in April, the jump is largely reflective of the timing of the Easter holiday which fell in March 2016 but was April in 2017.

It went on to add, inflationary increase in the prices of goods were another factor behind the 6.3% increase in the value of sales.

“Looking to the longer-term signs of a slowdown, the outlook isn’t as rosy,” said Helen Dickinson, BRC’s Chief Executive.

Consumers are increasingly focussed on saving money as opposed to spending it. They are also intent on buying cheaper, own-label brands from supermarkets and are more cautious on spending money for non-food items.

On a like-for-like basis, which includes new store openings, retail sales were up by 5.6% in April compared to the same period during last year, said the BRC.

Although the British economy did hold up well against last year’s shock result of the Brexit referendum, inflation in the country is rising quickly midst a weakening in wage growth, which raises the issue of how long can consumer-driven retail sales be the growth engine for the country.

Barclaycard, a credit card company, has mirrored a similar result as that of BRC, in its own report which states that annual sales were up by 5.5% in April. However, two thirds of the respondents in its survey say, their purchases were driven by bargain hunting. Barclaycard has reported a 16.6% rise in its discount stores.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) stated on Tuesday, that recruitment companies reported a drop in the number of European Union nationals available to work in sectors such as food manufacturing and healthcare, REC said.

“The weakening pound and lack of clarity about future immigration rules is putting off some EU nationals from taking up roles in the UK,” said Kevin Green, REC’s Chief Executive.

As per British government data that was published in February, the steady rise in the number of EU migrants working in Britain have stalled at the end of 2016. This has raised concerns among employers that they will struggle to fill vacancies.


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