Marks & Spencer customers could face price hikes for basic goods despite the retailer’s boss pledging to try to shield them from the falling value of the Pound.
The cost of chocolate and coffee at the high street chain could go up by as much as ten per cent, one supplier reportedly predicted, following a suppliers’ revolt over increased costs.
A slide in the pound following the Brexit vote has increased the cost of imports and has already been blamed by some retailers for increased prices in the UK.
The cost of chocolate and coffee at the chain could go up by as much as 10 per cent at M&S
But, in November M&S chief executive Steve Rowe said he would try to cope with cost increases through ‘optimisation of our supply base’ and selling more, rather than passing the costs to consumers.
His buyers also reportedly refused to offer suppliers more money, triggering anger and claims some may have to pull their business.
But the chain has now reportedly agreed over Christmas price increases of up to 15 per cent with some suppliers, triggering fears of higher prices on the shelves.
In November M&S chief executive Steve Rowe said he would try to cope with cost increases
One unnamed supplier told the Sunday Times shelf prices for chocolate, confectionary, nuts, tea and coffee would rise by 8-10 per cent, adding that the store’s commitment to responsible sourcing left it with fewer choices than rivals.
A spokesperson for M&S said its position on not passing on prices rises to customers had not changed since November.
He added: ‘We would never comment on commercial discussions with suppliers. We remain committed to competitive prices and offering our customers great value.’
Since the Brexit vote, the pound has fallen 14pc against the dollar and 11pc against the euro.
Apple said exchange rates played a part in its decision to increase the price of its Mac Pro by £500 at the end of October, while the food and household goods supplier
Unilever said the same when trying to charge an extra 10 pc for some of its goods.
Tesco started running low on Marmite and other household brands after it refused to accept supplier Unilever’s attempt.
The dispute was settled with Tesco – but rival supermarket Morrisons did raise the price of Marmite on its shelves, by 12.5 pc.
In October the British Retail Consortium warned that prices could be further pushed up following the UK’s exit from the EU, due to higher World Trade Organisation tariffs.