Barclaycard: Consumer spending in February was flat, rising just 2 per cent

LONDON, UK, 11-3-2014 — /EuropaWire/ — Consumer spending in February was flat, rising just 2 per cent, with positive economic sentiment failing to translate into higher pay packets, according to new data from Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of all the UK’s debit and credit transactions.

  • UK consumer spend up just 2 per cent year on year continuing trend of muted growth that began in Q3 2013
  • Essential spend continues to struggle with supermarket spend down (0.8 per cent), while petrol spend fell sharply both in amount spent (down 6 per cent) and number of transactions (down 2.8 per cent)
  • Booming housing market reflected in DIY spend which was up 11.3 per cent

Despite a six year high in consumer confidence and recent falls in unemployment wage growth remains sluggish, and this is directly impacting consumer spending.

While online spending continued to grow, up 8.6 per cent year on year in February, the high street struggled with no spend growth at all instore.

Restaurants and clothing continued to perform well with spend up 10.8 per cent and 5.8 per cent respectively. This was countered by falls in spending in supermarkets (down 0.8 per cent) and department stores (down 1.1 per cent).

The star performer was DIY spend which hit a 2 year high, up 11.3 per cent.

The average amount spent per transaction continued to come down – falling 3.9 per cent on last year and 5.4 per cent on 2012. A legacy of the economic downturn is shoppers’ consistent search for value and determination to save money on their purchases.

Val Soranno Keating, CEO Barclaycard, said:
“The positive noises on the economy and unemployment have yet to drive significant increases in consumer spend. While consumers feel more confident than they have for several years, the upswing in spending growth that we saw in the middle of last year has slowed as pay packets are not matching the performance of the wider economy. Until we see stronger wage growth, spending will likely continue to be muted.”

Category spend
Sales in the overall retail sector slowed down in February. But Clothing still rose by 5.8 per cent boosted by the strong performance in Family Clothing (10.5 per cent). Shoe shops (8.9 per cent) also saw impressive spend increases compared to last year. However, Department Store spend dipped in the red again after seeing three consecutive month of positive growth.

Spend at Jewellers was up a decent 6.1 per cent year on year, possibly reflecting consumers’ appetite to buy more expensive presents for Valentine’s Day.

The Travel and Entertainment sector painted a mixed picture. Restaurants continued their winning streak, witnessing strong growth of 11.3 per cent, in line with what we saw for the majority of 2013. On the other hand, spend at Cinema/Theatre declined compared to the same time period in 2013. Airline (2.6 per cent) continued to see a moderate increase.

Rising Falling
DIY Stores 11.3% Supermarkets -0.8%
Restaurants 10.8% Department Stores -1.1%
Family Clothing 10.5% Furniture Stores -3.8%
Shoe Shops 8.9% Cinema, Theatre & Dance -4.3%
Jewellers 6.1% Petrol -6.0%
Auto Parts & Accessories 5.2%

Regional spend
Wales had a tough February with spend growth of just 0.6 per cent. London fared best up 3 per cent, closely followed by the North East up 2.9 per cent.

London 3.0%
North East 2.9%
Northern Ireland 2.6%
East of England 2.4%
South East 2.3%
East Midlands 2.1%
Scotland 2.1%
North West 1.9%
South West 1.8%
Yorkshire Humber 1.6%
West Midlands 0.9%
Wales 0.6%

Notes to Editors:
For more information please contact Tom Foxton, Media Relations Manager, Barclaycard, on 07880 184381 / 0207 116 7285.

Barclaycard processes nearly half of all card transactions in the UK. Our spending data is based on transactions from our UK credit card business, UK payment acceptance business and spending on Barclays debit cards.

All data in this release relates to the period from 26 January 2014 to 22 February 2014 and compares it with 26 January 2013 to 22 February 2013.

About Barclaycard
Barclaycard, part of Barclays Retail and Business Banking, is a leading global payment business which helps consumers, retailers and businesses to make and accept payments flexibly, and to access short-term credit when needed.

The company is one of the pioneers of new forms of payments and is at the forefront of developing viable contactless and mobile payment schemes for today and cutting edge forms of payment for the future. Barclaycard partners with a wide range of organisations across the globe to offer their customers or members payment options and credit.

Key facts published in June 2013:
–          total number of Barclaycard customers: 33.7m
–          total number of Barclaycard clients: 339,200
–          total payments processed: £124bn


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