UK consumer spending slows in April, surveys show

UK consumer spending slows in April, surveys show
UK consumer spending slows in April, surveys show

British consumers kept their spending in check last month, according to surveys on Tuesday which showed lukewarm activity even after taking into account the Easter holiday period.

Barclays said annual growth in consumer spending on its payment cards slowed to 1.6% in April, its weakest since February 2021, down from 1.9% in March and an effective decline after adjustment. of inflation.

Separately, the British Retail Consortium reported a sharp decline in retail sales in April compared to the previous year. The date of Easter having been brought forward this year, the spending preceding the festival took place in March and not in April.

However, the trade body said sales were disappointing even after adjustment.

Retail sales values ​​- without adjusting for inflation – fell 4.0% year-on-year in April, following a 3.5% rise in March, the BRC said. If we combine the months of March and April, sales increased by 0.2% compared to the previous year.

“Disastrous weather and disappointing sales have led to a depressing start to spring for retailers, even taking into account the change in the date of Easter,” said Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC.

Overall, the surveys point to the prospect of tepid economic growth in Britain, although business surveys have recently suggested some improvement.

The data will likely be noted by members of the Bank of England’s interest rate-setting committee, which will announce its decision for May on Thursday. Official retail trade data for April is not expected until May 24.

On the positive side, Barclays said consumers had become more confident in their finances.

“While improving consumer confidence offers a glimmer of hope for the retail and hospitality sectors as the summer season approaches, many retailers have adjusted their expectations, anticipating a lack of real recovery before the fall,” said Karen Johnson, head of retail at Barclays.

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