Consumer spending rebounds, BRC figures reveal

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has published statistics which show that UK food sales were on the rise in the three months to February, but shoppers resisted from spending money on non-essential items.

Retail spending in February rose by 1.6 per cent in comparison with the same month in 2017 and while non-food sales were 0.5 per cent lower than the previous year, food sales were up by four per cent.

Towards the end of 2017, households were faced by an inflation rate of over three per cent and wages that did not reflect these changes, and this is thought to explain some of the reasons why spenders have become more cautious in terms of what they purchase.

Helen Dickinson, from the BRC, said: “Weak growth in household earnings is keeping overall sales low.

“There’s little sign that consumer confidence, rather than financial reality, has much to do with the current weakness in spending.

“The fact is that consumers want to spend, they just don’t have the resources to do so.”

However, it is thought that overall consumer spending is set to grow more positively as research has shown that more people are spending money on activities recently, such as going to the cinema or theatre, than they have been for the past five months.

This sentiment is backed up by the Bank of England whose private economists have predicted that wages will pick up and overtake inflation later this year.