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Sep 8, 2020
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Clothing spend up for first time in 17 months says Barclaycard

Published
Sep 8, 2020

On the same day that the BRC issued its latest figures for retail, Barclaycard did the same for consumer spending overall and the result of its research showed that spending grew 0.2% year on year in August. 


UK shoppers spent more on clothing for the first time in over a year during August



This was an important development because it was the first uplift since February and was caused mainly by consumers enjoying the last of summer and socialising and holidaying in the UK.

Spending on essentials rose 5.1% but it was also significant that clothing spend saw growth for the first time since March 2019, as shoppers took advantage of end-of-season sales. Yet confidence in the UK economy fell to 19%.

The data from Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, showed that the spending on essentials was largely driven by supermarket shopping which was up 14.9%.

And the number of transactions overall returned to similar levels seen last year, down just 2.4%.

Despite the clothing increase, spending on non-essential items contracted 1.6% – although this was the smallest fall since the onset of lockdown – “as the nation became more comfortable visiting stores”.

And exactly how big was that clothing increase? Well, at 0.3%, it wasn’t exactly huge. But it was a start. And spending at department stores also saw an “improvement”, with the smallest drop (-3.6%) in the category since February 2020. Discount stores continued to benefit from price-conscious consumers and spend there surged 25%.

Meanwhile pharmacy, health & beauty spend rose 3.2% and sports & outdoor was up 22.7%.

Despite a steady return to the high street, the figures also indicated that months of lockdown have accelerated a sustained shift towards online shopping. This meant online clothing spend rose as much as 24.3%.

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