Şok, one of Turkiye’s largest hard discount retailers, will freeze prices on 1,000 items, including staple products such as rice, flour, vegetable oil, sugar and tear, until the end of January.
If other supermarkets follow suit, such a move is likely to have a positive impact on the inflation outlook, according to a consumers’ association.
“It was a difficult year both for producers and retailers due to elevated costs and prices. We, as Şok Markets, decided to freeze prices to support the country’s economy and our customers,” said Uğur Demirel, CEO.
The prices of those 1,000 items will not change during January even if their costs increase, Demirel added.
Some supermarket chains hiked prices after the minimum wage for 2023 was increased by 54.5 percent to 8,500 Turkish Liras last month. Supermarkets’ price hikes drew criticism from consumers.
In the wake of the minimum wage hike, Trade Minister Mehmet Muş held a meeting with the executives of four large supermarket chains to warn about the prices of the goods on the shelves.
“As consumers, we are expecting other supermarkets to reduce prices,” Aydın Ağaoğlu, head of the Consumers’ Confederation, told daily Milliyet, referring to three larger supermarkets in the U.K. which announced up to 15 percent reduction in prices.
The price freeze is usually implemented for three months. “I believe other supermarket chains should engage in competition to cut prices just like retailers did in the U.K.,” Ağaoğlu said.
Retail prices in Istanbul rose by 2.94 month-on-month and 93 percent year-on-year in December 2022, the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (İTO) said on Jan. 1.
Food prices in the country’s largest city advanced by 3.06 percent last month from November for an annual increase of 97.2 percent.
The Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) will announce the nationwide inflation for December 2022 on Jan. 3. The annual inflation rate in Turkiye eased from 85.5 percent in October to 84.39 percent in November.