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Easter break boosts consumer spending

Easter break boosts consumer spending

Visa Europe | Visa

2 min read Partner content

Weeks of political uncertainly do not appear to have dampened consumer confidence, as the latest figures from Visa Europe’s Expenditure Index show a 2% year-on-year increase in spending in April.

According to the index the increased level of spending compared to the same month in 2014 was boosted by the Easter break, as shoppers dined out and made home improvements.

Hotels, restaurants and bars was the strongest performing sector, reporting a 7.8% rise in spending on the year, with household goods in second place on 2.8%.

Kevin Jenkins, UK & Ireland Managing Director Visa Europe welcomed the news and expressed optimism that the upward trend would continue.

He said: “April was all about going out and sprucing up the home as consumers enjoyed the Easter weekend and a sunny second half of the month. Spend on household goods including furniture, home accessories and DIY rose as did trips to hotels, restaurants and bars.

“Overall spending volumes were 2% higher compared to a year ago, marking the strongest monthly growth rate since Black Friday boosted November’s figures. The improvements in household spending power could drive growth in consumer spending for several months to come, even as margins and price wars continue to depress total spend on the high street.”   

The data shows that April’s expenditure has risen at the fastest rate since November 2014, although not all sectors saw an annual improvement in performance.

Clothing and footwear retailers experienced reduced spending on the year, for the fifth month in a row, of -1.7%.

Expenditure on food and drink also fell marginally, by -0.9%, following 12 successive months of growth. 

Annabel Fiddes, Economist at Markit described the findings as a “mixed picture” but on the whole echoed Mr Jenkins’ positive outlook.

She said: “Household spending continued to increase at the start of Q2, with the latest set of Visa Europe: UK Expenditure Index data signalling a 2% year-on-year rise in spending during April. The sector data painted a mixed picture, however, with strong growth recorded once again at Hotels, Restaurants & Bars and Household Goods, while spending fell at Clothing & Footwear retailers and slightly in Food & Drink categories.

“Overall, the positive expenditure trends are in line with an array of positive economic data for the UK, with unemployment at a multi-year low, wages starting to rise in real terms and a further improvement in consumer confidence.”

As the Conservative party prepares to begin a second term in government, with a newly secured parliamentary majority, retailers will be hoping restored political certainty will continue to boost consumer confidence.

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