Coronavirus: special offers “removed from shelves during lockdown”

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Toilet paper was not the only thing that disappeared from supermarket shelves when the lockdown started. Free-to-buy offers have also been withdrawn.

Research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies found a 15% drop in the frequency of promotions in the first month of foreclosure.

This in part resulted in a 2.4% increase in the price of groceries in one month.

The researchers said it was the equivalent of the price increases expected for an entire year.

There was also an 8% drop in the variety of groceries on the shelves during the lockout, according to research funded by the Nuffield Foundation, which campaigns on social policy.

“This, regardless of price increases, will have a negative impact on consumers,” said the report’s authors.

“Panic” purchase

Bulk buyers purchased various essential items just before and at the start of the foreclosure.

This prompted a number of retailers to limit the number of items purchased, ranging from individual products such as toilet paper rolls and pasta to the entire basket of items available on supermarket websites.

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Legend

Large supermarkets have introduced limits on the number of in-demand items people can buy, such as toilet paper


IFS research followed data on the prices of groceries such as food, beverages, toiletries, cleaning supplies and pet food.

He found that prices were 2.4% higher in the first month of foreclosure, a rate more than 10 times higher than in previous months and unprecedented in recent years.

Since then, prices have dropped slightly, but still remained more than 2% higher than before the lock, the report said.

“There has been more inflation in grocery stores in a month than we often see in a year,” said Martin O’Connell, co-author of the report.

“Higher prices and a reduced variety persisted over the following weeks. At a time when many households are facing income reductions, higher prices for food, beverages and household items will further fuel household budgets. ”

Half of the increase was the result of fewer promotions, such as free-to-buy and cash back offers. The IFS said it had not been recorded in official inflation figures, to be updated next week.

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The drop in promotions was different from that of the last recession, when consumers bought more products for sale due to the squeeze on their own finances.

This time almost all households saw their grocery bills go up.

The researchers also said that investors would have expected the coronavirus crisis to lead to lower prices rather than higher.

“At a time when the financial markets expect the Covid-19 pandemic to be a disinflationary shock, this increase in the price of groceries, which has been felt by almost all households and in almost all categories of products, suggests to policy makers nevertheless to remain vigilant about the prospect of higher inflation, at least for certain goods and services “, said co-author Xavier Jaravel.

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