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April showers lead to low consumer spending

April showers lead to low consumer spending


2 min read Partner content

Dismal weather contributed to a "surprisingly large drop" in consumer spending in the month of April, according to data released today.

With household spending down 1.9 per cent month-on-month and 4.3 per cent year-on-year, figures from the Visa Europe: UK Expenditure Indexshow one of the largest monthly falls since the height of the economic crisis.

The Index, released on a monthly basis, sources information from spedning on all Visa debit, credit and prepaid cards.

April's data shows decreases in spending on a year-on-year basis in all but two recognised sectors-hotels & restaurants and recreation & culture- with miscellenous goods and services seeing a fall of 13.1 per cent.

Whilst March's figures appeared to be artifically buoyed by the panic buying of fuel, this month's data has caused concern for the compilers of the Index, Visa.

Dr. Steve Perry, the commercial director of Visa Europe, argued that high rainfall in April had been a major factor in the fall in high street spending.

He said: “April saw a surprisingly large drop in consumer spending according to the UK Expenditure Index."

"The dismal weather clearly had an impact on retail sales and unlike last year there was no Royal Wedding to buoy the month’s consumer expenditure"

"Online spending declined less markedly than on the high street in April indicating that shoppers were in no mood to brave
the weather."

The Index reflects, Perry noted, that the UK economy has entered a "technical recession."

Also commenting on the Index's data was Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.

Williamson compared April's poor spending with the more buoyant figures from previous months.

He said: “Spending in April showed one of the largest monthly falls seen since the height of the financial crisis in early 2009.

"Some payback from higher spending on petrol was to be expected following the panic-buying in March, as was a drop in expenditure on new season clothing and items such as garden furniture due to the warm weather seen in March, which caused many people to pull forward these purchases earlier in the year than usual."

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