Products from food to fashion will be more costly to import in the event that no deal is struck on Brexit.
Analysis by the BRC showed that food and beverage products would face an average increase in the cost of importing from the EU of up to 29% from ‘non-tariff barriers’ alone, under a no-deal scenario.
In the case of clothing and textiles, the increase could be as much as 7%.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “It is imperative that we avoid a no-deal Brexit and have an agreement between the UK and EU that maintains frictionless trade, otherwise the cost of importing everyday items will go up.
“This will inevitably lead to higher prices for consumers and will add to the cost burden on retailers at a challenging time for the industry.”
The findings on prices were part of a BRC study of ‘non tariff’ trade barriers and the importance of frictionless trade as the UK prepares to leave the EU.
At present, when goods enter the European Union from non-member countries they are subject to 405 checks and controls altogether.
There are 22 measures on fresh beef, for instance, and 44 on pharmaceutical products, to ensure products pose no risk to human health, that they comply with rules of origin and that correct levels of taxation are levied.
As a member of the EU customs union and single market, the UK is not subject to those controls, but that would change unless there is a deal on Brexit.
The BRC said: “This will lead to a significant increase in administration for most goods and a risk of substantial delays at borders.”