Star comment: Savvy retailers are the ones thriving in cost of living crisis
The inflationary pressures on the weekly shop are starting to subside. Prices for groceries are still rising, though not as quickly as they were.
Despite the apparent good news, there’s no reason to celebrate. Prices are still going up, just not as quickly as in spring, or last winter and autumn.
Prices across grocers were 12.2 per cent higher than a year ago, for the four weeks to September 3. That’s down by half a per cent on the previous month, though it still means that for every pound we were spending in 2022 we now need to spend £1.12.
Little wonder then that it is the discount stores that are seeing growth. People are starting to shop clever and that means fewer treats and more own-brand products. It means using cost-cutting stores that offer bargains, rather than upmarket stores that offer treats.
The bottom line is simple: people have less money, they can only just make ends meet – and, in some cases, not even that.
Meanwhile, as Wilko stores begin their disappearing act from our high streets, Primark continues to thrive.
Its success, like that of Greggs, can be summed up with the phrase: Give the people what they want and they will come.
There is still plenty of room on the High Street for budget retailers as well as those that can offer something different. The challenge must be to fill holes left by the likes of Wilko.
Our habits have changed in recent times, to fit in with the cost of living crisis. Retailers who are savvy enough to meet our demands, while also providing a decent level of service, will be the ones that survive, or, in the case of Greggs and Primark, make a healthy profit.
Girls’ happiness levels are at their lowest in 15 years and teenagers are increasingly turning to vaping to deal with the stresses of everyday life.
Such findings are bleak indeed. Yet the two issues shed a light on the pressures placed upon young people today, which are fuelled by a toxic online culture as well as bad behaviour by others in the real world.
It is depressing that young people appear to feel so world-weary at such an early age. It is up to all adults, be it parents, carers or teachers, to offer reassurance but also motivation to see life as an opportunity and not a burden.
Youngsters should not have to keep pace with others, be so readily judged, or find the need to fit in. We must create a kinder, more accommodating society, where we eschew the toxic culture of social media platforms and providing a more-nurturing environment for our children.