Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Consumer spending rises by 4.4%

Consumer spending rose by more than four per cent in August compared with the same month last year

The popularity of eating out and weekend breaks during the good weather over the summer helped lift consumer spending by 4.4% in August compared with last year.

Restaurants saw a 13.3% rise while hotels climbed 6.7%, according to Barclaycard figures. However, clothes, groceries and electronics fell back, as well as department stores, though overall in-store spending was up by 3.3%.

Airlines managed an increase of 2.3% but this was much slower than previous months as the good weather at home saw many hard-pressed families resist the urge to travel abroad for a dose of sunshine.

DIY stores grew by 6.4% and cinema and theatre spending was up 8.1%.

Supermarkets dropped 0.1%, confirming a recent warning from Asda finance director Richard Mayfield that sales in the sector had fallen flat at the start of August after a barbecue-fuelled splurge during the July heat wave.

The new figures showed spending in the fast-growing online market up 9.9% but this was behind rises in prior months as the sunny weather prompted many consumers to get out from behind the computer screen and shop on the high street instead.

Val Soranno Keating, chief executive of Barclaycard, said: "Rising consumer confidence pushed spending growth above 4% in August for the fourth straight month as households continued to shake off the economic downturn.

"It's a trend we've seen for most of this year and has helped establish 2013 as the year of recovery. Spending on eating out, holidaying in the UK, and doing up the house grew particularly strongly in August."

She said encouraging data from the wider economy and expectations of above-average weather for September suggested another positive for the current month.

Barclaycard processes nearly half of card transactions in the UK.

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