Cost of living crisis: iconic corner shops like Bread Shop Bakery suffering ‘worst period in history’
“You can only pass on product price increases so much” - increased wholes sale prices has seen basic items like milk increase five times in last five months.
According to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), almost a quarter of UK firms have suffered a slump in trade over the past month as cost-of-living pressures increase.
In its latest fortnightly business survey, the ONS found that 24% of companies said their turnover dropped in June compared with May.
UK inflation increased to 9.1% in May amid surging energy prices and is expected to have risen further in June when the latest readings are confirmed this month.
The owner of iconic The Bread Shop Bakery, a local business in Aigburth, explained to LiverpoolWorld how increased prices on a wholesale level, combined with growing energy bills, has affected himself and other shop owners in Liverpool.
‘Astronomical price increases’
Alan Gordon, owner of The Bread Shop Bakery, said: "It's been astronomical the price increases pretty much across the board, for everything.
“Our electricity prices have doubled; as a result, we are paying something like £400 a week on electricity. It's a real struggle with industrial ovens. Obviously, that's a price increase we try not to pass on to customers.
“Milk has gone up five times in the past five months. Bread again, I think it's gone up four times in the past few months. So, your general staples across the board, there's been increases."
A familiar sight to anyone in Aigburth, The Bread Shop Bakery was established in 1958 by Len Gordon. His grandson, Alan, is now the owner, and the shop has diversified into many other things alongside its daily fresh baked goods.
However, he says this is the worst period in the shops history, with the cost of living crisis hitting them particularly hard.
Passing on the cost
Alan said: "I think at the moment in Liverpool we're really struggling financially, everyone is, so we are keeping our prices really competitive. As a business, we're the one trying to take the hit, really.
“You can only pass on product price increases so much, so what we're doing is we're diversifying. A couple of weeks ago chicken was really expensive so for a week or two we just stopped selling chicken and we started selling more ham sandwiches."
Support local businesses
Alan added: "Obviously, this isn't about me or my shop, really; I go to the wholesalers and there are so many shopkeepers all looking at each other thinking: ‘what is going on here?’
“We're not millionaires us shopkeepers; we work 60 hours a week, and some of those will get the same pay that you get working somewhere else. So, if you can really try and support these guys because they are really hard-working people and you don't want to lose them in the community."