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Summer of spending continued in August

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

Brits splashed the cash in August, enjoying events and evenings out during the final stretch of summer. But many plan to tighten their belts after spending more than usual.

Consumer spending was up 4.5% year-on-year last month, continuing the strong run from earlier in the summer, according to data from Barclaycard, which covers nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions.

In July, spending was up 5%, the third consecutive month of growth above 5% and the strongest three-month period in four years.

Spending on entertainment, including buying tickets to events, theme parks and days out, rose 10.3% in August, while supermarket and fuel expenditure also increased.

However, clothes shops did not benefit from this splurge in spending, seeing just a 0.6% rise in the month as people were put off spending on Autumn and Winter clothes while the weather was still warm.

Garden centres also took a dip from previous months, rising just 0.5%, which is in stark contrast to the double-digit growth in earlier months.

Spending cutbacks

Having spent more than usual over summer, a third of consumers now plan to reduce their expenditure, with 44% saying they’ll do so by cutting back on treats for themselves and 39% saying they’ll spend less on entertainment, such as going to restaurants or having nights out.

Esme Harwood, director at Barclaycard, said: “Brits have been feeling confident enough in their spending power to enjoy summer events and evenings out. However, it’s clear they’ve struck a balance between spending on essentials and treating themselves.”

Laura Suter, personal finance analyst at investment platform AJ Bell, said: “These figures cover both debit and credit cards, so there is also some concern about how many households can afford the big spends they’ve been making over the summer and whether a debt hangover is headed our way. We are already a nation of spenders rather than savers, and some families will be paying for the fun of the summer for many months to come.”