Majority of retailers set to raise prices by Christmas due to supply chain issues

Credit: PA

The majority of retail bosses plan to increase prices on goods by the end of the year, with one-in-10 already having done so, the industry's trade body chief has revealed.

Helen Dickinson, head of the British Retail Consortium, said a recent poll of chief executives found three-in-five plan price rises due to soaring supply chain costs.

“We surveyed CEOs and three-fifths said they were going to have to increase prices by the end of the year. 10% said they already have," she said.

“It is sadly a reality when businesses are seeing every single cost, energy, wages, other things, all rising at the same time.”

British Retail Consortium Chief Executive Helen Dickinson said prices were having to rise in stores Credit: Jonathan Brady / PA

On Wednesday, ITV News reported on fresh concerns raised around delays to Christmas deliveries as we learnt how Britain's busiest port would start refusing empty return containers from this morning as it neared capacity.

A build-up of cargo has led to shipping company Maersk opting to divert vessels away from the Suffolk port.

The site has become severely congested, due in part to a shortage of HGV drivers, which could hamper Christmas deliveries if vacancies are not filled in time.

Playing down reports, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said there will be a “good amount of Christmas presents available” this year despite supply chain issues.

Thousands of shipping containers at the Port of Felixstowe in Suffolk Credit: PA

Speaking to ITV News, Mr Sunak said the pressures are "global in nature", but the government is doing its best to mitigate them.

“I’m confident there will be a good amount of Christmas presents available for everyone to buy.”

Ms Dickinson added that even larger retailers are struggling with higher costs, despite being able to negotiate the best deals with shipping firms.

At Poundland, the boss of the discounter’s owner Pepco, said he has seen shipping costs rise tenfold and expects the supply chain issues to last for 12 months.

Andy Bond, who was formerly chief executive of Asda, said: “You get seasonal peaks at Christmas which further exacerbates the cost issue because you’re out there buying extra vessels than you normally would.

“There are some times where we have had to pay 10 times our normal rates. That’s not to say every day, but that has been the impact.”

“I think that we see the next 12 months remaining challenging but we feel we’re set for another good year.”

A Poundland store in Uxbridge High Street. Credit: PA

On Thursday, the government announced a consultation on a plan to increase deliveries in the UK by temporarily changing “cabotage” rules, which govern how many trips foreign transport firms can make within another country.

Currently hauliers from the EU can only pick up and drop off goods in the UK twice in a seven-day period, but the proposals would allow them to make an unlimited number of deliveries across two weeks.

If approved, the plans would come into force before the end of the year and last for six months.