Dec 17, 2018
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Fashion suffers as UK consumer spending falls again - Visa

Dec 17, 2018

Consumer spending fell again last month in the UK with a 0.7% dip, which was worse than the 0.2% fall seen in October. That’s according to the latest Visa UK Consumer Spending Index, compiled by IHS Markit, with clothing & footwear one of the categories suffering the fastest spending drop.

Fashion shops were among the losers as far as November consumer spending was concerned

Visa said expenditure has struggled to maintain growth momentum in 2018 to date, with spending falling in seven of the 11 months of the year so far.

Of course, anyone who reads regular UK consumer spending news stories will note that some reports from other sources say spending has fallen in more months than that this year, while some say it has dropped in fewer months. And the extent of the rises or falls is often different. 

But that’s due to the specific metrics used by various research firms, as well as the different categories covered. But one thing that all the reports agree on is that overall spending in physical stores is falling, while e-tail continues to rise, but not at the explosive pace of previous years.

Visa said the latest reduction was predominantly driven by a further fall in face-to-face expenditure - that is, spending at physical shops. Compared to the same month a year ago, face-to-face spending declined 0.9% in November, following a 2% reduction in October.

At the same time, growth in e-tail spend slowed from +2.6% year-on-year in October to just +0.4% in November.

Adolfo Laurenti, European Principal Economist at Visa, said: “Despite the lure of Black Friday, consumer spending slipped again. While e-commerce spending showed a slight uplift, [this] still disappoints at the onset of this crucial festive season.

“Despite some easing in inflationary pressures and an improvement in wages and earnings, consumer confidence has deteriorated further, as uncertainty continues to surround Brexit. Economic conditions are likely to remain challenging for retailers, at least in the short term.”

Annabel Fiddes, Principal Economist at IHS Markit, added: “The disappointing trend reflects relatively subdued consumer confidence as uncertainty lingers over the outcome of ongoing Brexit negotiations. At the same time, businesses signalled the weakest increase in activity for nearly two-and-a-half years in November, according to PMI survey data.”

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