Posts Tagged ‘prices’
We’re all used to hearing news that the high street is on its knees and retailers are openly weeping into the bins outside Claire’s Accessories as their empires crumble. And we’re all equally used to hearing how the cost of living has skyrocketed while our wages, er…haven’t.
But today, we can walk down the high street with a little spring in our step because the British Retail Consortium have announced that high street prices are falling at a record rate.
That’s right, we’re paying less and less in the shops, with goods costing an average of 1.4% less in February than in previous months. Some things went even lower, with clothing and shoes were 12% cheaper than last year.
February marked the tenth month in a row that deflation had occurred on the high street, and food inflation also feel slightly from 1.5% in January to 1.1%.
So can we look forward to paying even less for our stuff? Helen Dickinson from the BRC thinks so.
‘Many of the larger food retailers have been looking closely at their investment in promotions and price cuts, suggesting competition could intensify further.’
LET’S BUY EVERYTHING.
Getting a train from the airport to a nearby city is usually an expensive business, but it’s over to everyone’s favourite consumer gods, Which! to tell us which one sucks the most.
And the accolade for the crappiest airport train service goes to…THE GATWICK EXPRESS, which scored 60/100. Why? Because, as anyone who has ever been on it can testify, out of all the airport train services, it’s bad value for money at an always shocking £19.90 each way for a journey that lasts about half an hour. And they don’t even put on nice shiny trains.
The Heathrow and Stansted Express also scored low for value for money – but while the Stansted Express is a terrifying £23.40 each way, it scored higher marks for luggage space and comfort.
The best, easiest and cheapest London journey by far was the Docklands Light Railway from London City Airport. (And the DLR is also good because you can sit in the front seat and pretend to drive it.) But then, only business class types and golden gods can afford to fly from City airport.
Outside of London, regional airports scored highly for their train services, with the top spot occupied by Virgin Trains, whose cheap as chips and highly efficient rail service from Birmingham costs only £2.40.
Which! say that passengers need to complain more about the standard of train services from the big London airports, otherwise we’ll continue to be fleeced. Ricardo Lloyd spat:
‘There are unacceptably wide differences in the levels of customer satisfaction for airport trains, with many people especially unhappy about the high cost of some express services. Train companies must do more to listen to travellers’ views, which is why we’ve launched a campaign to Get Trains on Track, calling for a better response to complaints.’
Another Which! campaign. Don’t these people ever SLEEP?
If you want to get on the property ladder without breaking the bank, you could do worse than to search for houses on rude sounding streets. According to a survey by some website or other called needaproperty.com, houses with ‘ooh, you are awful’ saucy addresses can be £84,000 cheaper than ones on say, Acacia Avenue or Bluebell Drive.
So get yourself down to Fanny Hands Lane in Lincolnshire, or snap up a SEMI in Turkey Cock Lane. (GEDDIT? Yes, I’m sure you do). And there’s a bargain to be had on Slag Lane in Lancashire. That was pinpointed in the survey as the second most embarrassing-sounding street to live on, with 26% of the 2000 people saying they didn’t want a Slag in their address.
The most embarrassing street name in Britain, however, goes to Minge Lane in Worcestershire, which quaintly shocked 31% of respondents.
But even though ordering a pizza to come to Minge Lane or Cockshoot Cresecent might be a bit of a MOUTHFUL, the price differences might change your mind. A detached house on Minge Lane is £253, 389, compared to a whopping £325,000 in nearby street called Longfield. And Slag Lane houses go for around £20,000 less than those in the innocuous sounding Fieldfare Close, up the road.
And Annie Gray, a proud resident of the Fanny Hands Lane, says it’s worth living there for the LOLZ, anyway. In fact, the name was the reason she bought a house there in the first place.
‘If you’re ever ordering anything and tell people your address, as soon as you say ‘Fanny’, they know exactly where you mean.’
There’ll be no joyful patting of back pockets at Asda today, after they announced a disappointing 0.1% fall in sales in the 13 weeks to the 3rd of January. While 0.1% doesn’t exactly seem like a catastrophic figure, it marks the first fall in sales for the supermarket since 2010.
CEO Andy Clarke looked dolefully up from his Asda ham and pineapple pizza and made the usual comments about it being tough year, yadda yadda yadda.
‘It will come as no surprise that 2013 was a tough year for UK retailers and there’s little doubt that the UK retail market is undergoing significant and permanent structural change. Though the economy is showing signs of recovery, it is still susceptible to shocks and the benefit is not yet being felt right across the country.’
(Which, translated from Retail Speak, means ‘Aldi are better than us.’)
Having been blasted for artificially raising prices during the Christmas period so that they could offer Aldi/Lidl busting low prices in January, Asda don’t seem to be having much luck at the moment.
But it’s not stopping them from investing £200m in lowering more prices and spending £750m on a UK wide expansion programme.
But could it all be ill fated? Will the British public desert the Walmart-owned monster in favour of copycat Not Nobs biscuits and scuba diving equipment from our favourite German supermarket?
How low can you go? Well, prices are now 1% less than they were a year ago, as retailers resorted to desperate price cutting measures just to get punters through the doors.
As eagle eyed bargain hunters now demand discounts as their inalienable consumer right, and will browse the internet and go elsewhere for better value, high street prices have dropped like a drunken Sally Bercow onto a random guy in a nightclub. 1% might not seem like much, but it’s the steepest slide in prices since 2006.
Helen Dickinson of the BRC said:
‘Shop prices are falling at their fastest rate for seven years, a new record for our data. January is always a key month for sales and promotions, but discounts have been deeper and more widespread than last year and we are seeing this trend continuing.’
Prices in the January sale were 10% less than last year (WHOO!) with a 3.8% drop on the prices of furniture and carpets and a 1.8% drop in electricals.
Obviously, food has gone up and wages are stagnating, but who needs money and food when you’ve got a cheap PS4 and a massive DFS sofa?
The Halifax have announced that by the end of 2014, the average home could be worth £187,000 – that’s a predicted 8% jump over the next 12 months.
The Halifax added that monthly figures were often ‘volatile’, but quarterly figures showed a 1.9% increase- so there’s no doubt that there’s a housing bubble/upward trend continuing this year.
And sales are increasing, too, with the figure hitting the one million mark in 2013 – the highest since everything came crashing down in 2007. The property price index also showed that house sales were up for the seventh month in a row in November.
Of course, with healthy sales and fat profits comes that most precious thing of all – consumer confidence. In a poll by the Halifax, 51% of respondents said they thought 2014 was a good time to put their home on the market.
So, if it’s announced today that interest rates are staying put – as they’re expected to – then we’ve got ourselves another nice big bubble to live in – which will then BURST and leave us homeless and living in an Aldi carrier bag.
Enjoy it while it lasts!
Prices of video games have been creeping up like nobody’s business. Generally, when buying media, downloads are considerably cheaper, thanks to a lack of packaging and such. However, with games, it isn’t so.
With that, Microsoft have confirmed that download versions of the exclusive titles Ryse, Forza Motorsport 5 and Dead Rising 3 will now cost £50, after initially saying downloaded games would be £45.
“Yes, pricing for select digital content in some markets has changed since launch,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement. ”Digital content pricing is subject to change and we may occasionally offer various deals or promotions. Ultimately pricing and promotions will vary by region.”
Third party games still vary, with Call of Duty Ghosts costing £55 to download on both Xbox One and PS4. FIFA 14 meanwhile is £60 on PS4 and £55 on Xbox One.
Prices for video games are in danger of pricing everyone out. Surely, there’s going to be some big price drops in 2014? Of course, keep checking our Deals of the Day for good prices on games, consoles and everything else.
With Steam working so well, some optimists figured that with the next-gen consoles, there would be a load of cheap downloadable games we could get our hands on. However, Sony are behind the PS4 and they don’t like value-for-money.
Prices have been announced for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and the cheapest games are £50. If you’re a teenager, get a part-time job now or you’ll be playing nothing ’til the New Year.
FIFA 14, Battlefield 4, Assassin’s Creed 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts are all going for £55 on PSN (Sony’s online marketplace), which are exactly the same price as the games on Xbox Live. Even PS4 exclusives – Knack and Killzone – are only £2 cheaper at £53.
Oddly, physical copies of games are going cheaper (around the £46 mark), which is strange seeing as there’s a manual, cover, box and Blu Ray disc. One thing that might be bringing the price down is that you can’t play games directly off the disc, instead, you have to install them, thereby making the packaging a big waste of everyone’s time.
“As PS4 and PSN have not yet officially launched in this region, nothing on the PSN is final, including pricing on the store,” Sony said. ”You will continue to see some prices adjusted over the next few days in preparation for launch on Friday.”
For bargains, it will definitely be worth waiting for 2014 to roll in because, as it stands, you’ll either be forking out loads of money or getting bored of the scant games available.
The National Audit Office has warned us all that energy bills could rise by around 50% over the next six years, outstripping inflation and basically leaving everyone in a position where no-one can afford to pay for it.
The NAO says in a report: ”The available projections suggest that increases in both energy and water bills will continue to outstrip inflation, on average, up to 2030.”
Angela Knight, chief executive for Energy UK, said that new research shows that energy prices could rise by 46% in the lead up to 2020. So, in short, from 2004, that means that prices will increase by 260%. By 2020, bills could be over £2,000.
Knight said: “The industry has become a lightning conductor for the general concern about the cost of living. As a result we stand accused for things that we do, for things that we don’t do, for things that we are responsible for and things that we are not … this is not an understood industry.”
Understood or not, we all know that prices are going up more sharply than wage increases and that any lack of transparency in the sector isn’t our fault. Bill prices haven’t been justified or explained and no-one seems to be doing anything about it, even though it looks like certain companies are indulging in flagrant blackmailing of the government by threatening further price rises if green levvies don’t change.
The NAO is recommending that the Treasury needs to publish the expected overall impact on our bills in a bid to promote transparency. Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said: “Government and regulators do not know the overall impact of planned infrastructure on future consumer utility bills, or whether households, especially those on low incomes, will be able to afford to pay them. It seems critical to know ‘how much is too much’, based on reliable information.”
The Government have announced that they’re curbing train operators’ ability to increase ticket prices in 2014. Thus far, rail companies have been able to slap on an additional 5% to fares, provided the average rise of regulated fares is maintained at 1% above inflation. However, that will now be limited to 2%.
It isn’t a decrease, but it is better than a kick in the arse.
The rise in the new year will be based on the July 2013 RPI inflation rate, which means the old flexible system has gone, and thereby ending tickets going up by eye-watering amounts (some season tickets could have gone up by nearly 10% under the old rules).
This review was published today by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, who said: ”By capping fares we are protecting passengers from large rises at a time when family incomes are already being squeezed. We will need to wait for the rail industry to calculate individual ticket prices for next year, but this cap could save some commuters as much as £200 a year.”
The review also looks at a potential end to paper tickets, flexible season tickets and a code of conduct for train companies in the hope that they’ll actually give passengers some confidence that they are getting the best deal for their journey.
McLoughlin added: “Today is just the start of a Government-wide programme to help hardworking people and reduce the cost of living. The Government will be announcing a range of initiatives to help put money back in people’s pockets over the next few weeks. Alongside this, the Government is investing over £16bn to transform our rail network, which will make sure we can respond to increasing passenger demand and drive forward economic growth that will help strengthen our economy.”
Npower have blasted British Gas for their Free Power Saturdays idea, claiming it’s a gimmick which will confuse customers.
Npower chief Paul Massara said: ‘We are looking at smart meters but we think at the moment Joe Public is more concerned about understanding their bill and the size of the bill. A ‘Free Saturday’ is more of a gimmick really. People will simply end up paying more during the week to make up for it.’
(Let’s just take a moment to digest that ‘Joe Public’ comment, which shows how slow witted he thinks we really are.)
So what’s npower’s helpful contribution to their customers? Well, it’s… a simplified bill. UNFORTUNATELY, though, 2 million customers will face an 11% increase in their standing charge for electricity this winter too. Apparently, the higher standing charge is intended to cover a £40 annual loyalty discount which is already in place.
Now, I know I’m only ‘Joe Public’ but I wouldn’t say that’s a very good gimmick, Paul. How about something a bit more snappy, like: ‘WAIT FOR DEATH WEDNESDAY’ or ‘FROZEN THURSDAYS?’
Despite the fact that Centrica have just announced a big sizzling, toasting, roasting, sweaty profit of £356m from the cold weather of 2012-13– British Gas say they can’t rule out price rises this winter.
As we all know, they raised fuel prices by 6% in the depths of November 2012, and the long run of cold weather and frozen spring saw customers using 13% more gas than usual. But instead of allowing their customers to benefit, BG are now mumbling something about the profit being absorbed by ‘substantially higher costs for environmental obligations and network charges.’
This is also after PROMISING customers they would use the benefits of their profitable winter to freeze prices. They announced that in May, but they didn’t confirm it, and now it seems they’re not going to bother.
Centrica’s finance director Nick Luff said the extra profits created by British Gas only equated to about an extra 70p per customer, so they wouldn’t be ruling out upping prices.
Looks like we’ll all have to wear extra big jumpers this winter. Or DIE.
Microsoft have been having a bit of a nightmare, with people yelling at them for apparent ‘always-on’ internet needs for the Xbox One, as well as the notion that they’ll be putting an end to people buying second-hand games.
And so, in a bid to publicly win a few hearts and minds, the company have announced that they won’t put out first party titles any higher than an RRP of £50.
Which is still a load of money.
However, that is the same price as new games on the previous 360 platform, so something of a price freeze.
Of course, third parties will be allowed to charge whatever they want for games, so don’t expect Activision’s ‘Call of Duty’ to be cheap, especially when the demand is so large. Naturally, supermarkets and such will be offering discounts and packages , but we’ll just have to see what happens there.
Passengers travelling through the Channel Tunnel (or ‘Chunnel’ if you’re from the ’90s) are being ripped off accordin to the European Commission. The EC have demanded that Eurotunnel slash their “excessive” £32 per passenger return levy plus per train fee.
They state that these charges are putting other train companies off entering the market and it is giving Eurostar an unfair dominance. Not only that, the grown in passenger numbers is too slow, held back by these high charges.
As a result, the number of goods trains is falling annually and shipping companies are relying on carbon-intensive road travel instead.
Vice president of the European Commission Siim Kallas said: “The Channel Tunnel is not being used to its full capacity because of these excessive charges. As a result, more freight is being carried on lorries instead of by rail; freight operators and their customers are being overcharged, and passengers are paying over the odds for their tickets. The current regime is also stifling growth in the rail sector.”
A spokeswoman for Eurostar said: “We are keen to encourage more passengers to travel with us and to new destinations and the cost is a significant factor in that. If the cost of going through the tunnel is lower then we have greater flexibility on destinations.”
The EC added that the Channel Tunnel regulator, IGC, wasn’t independent which is obviously a problem: “Lack of independence of a rail regulator can lead to failure by the regulator to address complaints by operators in an independent manner or to adopt decisions to force compliance with EU rules and thus can lead to distortions of competition”.
Remember when festivals were full of young people with flowers painted on their boobs, indulging in free love? Well, now they’re more likely to be full of tedious over 30s with John Lewis picnic equipment and an endless supply of Dorset Cereal, according to a new survey by MSN.
It’s hardly surprising when you find out that the average cost for a British festival is now a staggering £423.01 – that’s including tickets, transport, camping equipment, bottles of Williams Brothers craft beer, crap straw hats and ukelele maintenance.
As festival goers are older these days, there’s also been an increasing trend towards older headline acts. It seems that when you hit 36 it’s impossible to process new things, so campers are much happier to see established acts from back in the days when they were happy and had an intact hairline. In fact, 43% of the 2000 festival goers polled said they preferred to see acts that had been around a decade or more.
The average age of festival punters who go to T In The Park is 37, with Glastonbury at 36 and Reading and Leeds at a relatively sprightly 35 years and eight months.
So come on, Reef – start rehearsing ‘Place Your Hands’ – you’ve got work to do.