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 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 2 Kate Moss: Previously unpublished nude photo revealed by Mert and Marcus
- 4 World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
- 5 Bad Jews poster 'censored' on London Tube
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Elif Shafak: Turkish author warns against rise of British nationalism
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'
£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...
£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...
£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...
£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...