Woe for retailers as Brits rein in shopping, predict cheaper Christmas

Laura Suter
9 October 2018

•    More woe for retailers as spending on women’s clothing fell by 3.5%
•    Half of Brits plan to rein in their spending this Christmas
•    Spending in department stores falls every month for a year

Laura Suter, personal finance analyst at investment platform AJ Bell, comments on the latest Barclaycard consumer spending report:

“Retailers already facing a tough time on the high-street are not likely to see rosier times ahead, as Brits look to cut back their spending on Christmas this year.

“The continuing warmer weather means that people are putting off buying new clothes, further clobbering clothes retailers. According to the Barclaycard report, spending on women’s clothes fell by 3.5%, with spending on clothing overall remaining flat. 

“The troubles at House of Fraser, Debenhams and to a lesser extent John Lewis are shown in the fact that spending in department stores in September was almost 8% lower than the same month last year and has fallen every month for the past year.

“What’s more, the usual bumper Christmas spending boom is unlikely to bolster retailers this year, as almost half of Brits questioned said they plan to spend less this Christmas than they did last year. Brits are nervous about the effect Brexit will have on the economy and their finances, with almost two-thirds of those questioned lacking confidence in the UK economy.

“Overall, spending grew by 3.9% in September, year-on-year, largely driven by continued spending in pubs, restaurants and on ticket sales, while rising fuel prices pushed spending on petrol higher too.”

The data from Barclaycard covers nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions.

Laura Suter
Personal Finance Analyst
Laura Suter is personal finance analyst at AJ Bell. She is a multi-award winning former financial journalist, having specialised in investments. Laura joined AJ Bell from the Daily Telegraph, where she was investment editor. She has previously worked for adviser publications Money Marketing and Money Management, and has worked for an investment publication in New York. She has a degree in Journalism Studies from University of Sheffield.
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