U.K. Consumer in Torrid State as High Street Spending Sags

U.K. shoppers are in a sorry state.

Visa’s U.K. consumer spending index fell 2 percent last month, a decline that was the quickest since since September 2013 and “driven by a sustained reduction in high street expenditure.” A separate report from the British Retail Consortium showed shoppers’ footfall decreased 2 percent on an annual basis in the month, the biggest slide since the Brexit vote in June 2016.

The findings published Monday are the latest to showed the perilous position of U.K. consumers as faster inflation and sluggish wage growth in the wake of the decision to leave the European Union crimp budgets.

This October was the “most horrific” on record for retail sales, the BDO High Street Sales Tracker showed Friday, while separate reports from the BRC and Barclaycard also showed continued caution among consumers just before the crucial Christmas shopping season.

Official wage and inflation data this week are forecast to show that the pressure on consumers is continuing. When the Bank of England raised interest rates for the first time in more a decade earlier this month, Governor Mark Carney said that while household finances have been “difficult” this year, “the worst of that real-income squeeze is ending.”
Source: Bloomberg

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