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Pub sales shot up 73% on England World Cup semi-final day

Paloma Kubiak
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Paloma Kubiak

The hot weather and England’s World Cup performance boosted consumer spending in July, but last week’s base rate rise has dented confidence, according to data from Barclaycard.

Pubs were one of the standout winners with customers spending 41% more in pubs on England match days than on equivalent days in 2017 and 73% more on the day of the England vs Croatia semi-final.

Overall, consumer spending was up 5% year-on-year in July, the third consecutive month of growth above 5% and the strongest three-month period since Barclaycard started tracking the data in 2014.

Essential spending climbed 8.7%, driven by strong spending in supermarkets (6.7%) and off the back of rising petrol prices (13%). Spending on women’s clothing also rose by 4.5%, the strongest figure since January 2016, and garden centres enjoyed an 8.1% uplift.

July’s continued warm weather also meant a quarter (23%) of people were prompted to spend more money than usual on outdoor activities and experiences.

According to the Barclaycard data, 56% prioritised spending on day trips while 50% bought more food and drink than normal for barbecues and picnics with family and friends.

Confidence in household finances falls

But despite the positive data, confidence in household finances dropped six percentage points from June to 59% and consumers are worried that last week’s base rate rise will mean they have to cut back on their spending.

Esme Harwood, director at Barclaycard, said: “The prolonged warm weather combined with England’s World Cup performance has created a short-term boost in spending. It will be interesting to see if this strong level of growth continues as we move into the final stretch of summer. It’s clear that some consumers remain cautious about what’s to come with interest rates rising and overall confidence in household finances down slightly from June.”

Laura Suter, personal finance analyst at AJ Bell, said that the hangover is looming: “People admit they’re worried about the effect of last week’s interest rate rise on their finances. The 0.25 percentage point hike last week will hit those who are in debt, including many who are already struggling to make ends meet.

“Cautiousness is also shown in the fact that households are still putting off buying big ticket items, such as household appliances and electronics.”