UK inflation rises again, fashion prices up almost 9%
UK inflation is continuing to head upwards and the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday showed the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) up by 6.2% in the 12 months to February 2022, compared to a 5.5% rise in January.
That was above the headline figure for the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) that rose by 5.5% in February, up from 4.9% in January.
On a month-on-month basis, CPI rose by 0.8% in February, compared with a rise of 0.1% a year earlier. It was the largest monthly CPI increase between January and February since 2009.
Although Clothing/Footwear wasn’t the biggest category contributing to the rise, its contribution was higher in February 2022 than at any other point since the start of the National Statistics series in January 2006. In fact, prices rose by 8.8% in the year to February 2022.
This could mean that consumers may cut back on their purchases of fashion products. And the fact that price rises were seen across-the-board in other categories could also impact fashion sales as some consumers prioritise certain categories over new clothing and shoes.
And retailers and brands are facing tough choices in terms of passing price rises on to consumers. Shirley Leader, director of Petersfield-based womenswear boutique Velvet & Rose said of the figures: “The increase in inflation is deeply worrying. Already as a small boutique owner, my energy bill is at a record high. On top of that, it is buying season and we are getting less for our money as fabric prices and duty have increased. We absorb what we can, but at some point something will have to give.”
And Michelle Cunningham owner of online boutique Tarelle Accessories, added: “As an online business selling women’s fashion accessories, our suppliers have increased their prices due to rising raw material costs. On top of that, we import some of our stock from Europe and the shipping costs have also increased. Regrettably, we recently had to pass these costs onto our customers in the form of higher prices in order to keep the business viable. It's an incredibly challenging time out there right now.”
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