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Consumers tighten their purse strings ahead of Christmas

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Spending remained muted in November as political uncertainty continued to weigh on consumer confidence.

Data from Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of the UK’s credit and debit card transactions, shows overall consumer spending last month grew by just 0.9 per cent year-on-year, representing a decline in real terms when accounting for inflation.

Spending on essentials showed no movement but non-essential spending was up 1.3 per cent.

Spending in department stores and in electronics and clothing retailers fell, but discounts stores were a bright spot with 6.9 per cent growth as shoppers continued to seek out value for money.

Consumer spending in bars, pubs and clubs saw good growth at 8.7 per cent, however restaurants saw a decline of 5.2 per cent.

Takeaways and fast food, meanwhile, saw a rise of 11.4 per cent as the colder weather and longer nights saw people take advantage of food delivery apps over venturing out for a meal.

The research also revealed that a third of Brits plan to spend less than usual on Christmas this year.

Esme Harwood, director at Barclaycard, said: “With a backdrop of political uncertainty, consumer confidence has remained low this month – particularly amongst younger consumers – as Brits focus on discount shopping in a bid to tighten their purse strings this Christmas.

“Throughout 2019 we have seen the nation managing their budgets by seeking greater value for money, and this trend looks set to continue in December. As we head into the busy shopping season, retailers will no doubt be crossing their fingers for consumer confidence to rise enough to deliver some Christmas cheer.”


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