Wet April hits high street spending
Tuesday 08 May 2012
Consumers shunned the high street during the wettest April on record as overall spending dropped at the sharpest rate in 11 months, a study said today.
Household spending fell by 1.9 per cent, one of the largest monthly falls seen since the height of the financial crisis in early 2009, Visa's UK expenditure index said.
Consumer spending overall fell by 4.3 per cent year-on-year, which was the steepest annual decline recorded in 11 months, with expenditure on household goods being particularly weak with a 9.6 per cent annual drop, the study said.
Face-to-face spending on the high street saw a 6.9 per cent year-on-year fall in April as consumers remained indoors during the bad weather, the biggest drop recorded since the study began in June 2009.
Online spending saw a more gentle annual decline of 0.8 per cent and contracted less sharply than the 2.8 per cent fall in this category seen in March.
The monthly study is designed to reflect consumer spending generally across the UK, not just that on Visa cards.
Visa said that while the "dismal" weather has had a negative impact on retail sales, the sharp month-on-month drop was also caused by an artificial inflation of spending in March, when people rushed to the pumps amid the petrol panic.
The steep decline compared with 2011 is also likely to be due to the royal wedding a year earlier, which gave retailers a boost, the study suggested.
Steve Perry, commercial director at Visa Europe, said: "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."
He said that weak consumer confidence had been "masked" in March by fuel panic buying.
Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, which helps to compile the report, said that in the midst of a double-dip recession, it was unlikely there would be a strong improvement soon.
He said: "Consumer spending remains under pressure from a considerable list of headwinds, including high unemployment, widespread job insecurity, low pay growth, high inflation and high debt.
"As such, it would be surprising to see any pick-up soon."
- 1 Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'
- 2 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Perez Hilton apologises for publishing Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
Jennifer Lawrence 'nude photo hacker' claims there are hundreds more celebrity images to come
Victoria Justice on naked photo leak: 'Let me nip this in the bud right now – pun intended'
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: Pictures are completely fake, say representatives
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
£23760 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: The JobAre you a trai...
£23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 3 Primary Teacher...
£30000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Generalist (standalone) - Tunbrid...