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Brexit worries tie consumer purse strings

Consumer spending dropped to 1.2% in February, from 3.8% in February 2018, as ongoing Brexit uncertainty caused Britons to cut back, new figures have shown. 

Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, reported that non-essential expenditure rose just 0.8% year on year, compared with 3.8% in February 2018, as clothing and department store spending contracted. 

Spending on clothing fell by 5.2% year on year, compared with 1.7% in 2018. Department store consumer spending declined 5.5% year on year, compared with 1.5% the year before. 

Almost one in three Britons, 32%, said they are cutting back on non-essential items such as clothes.

Half of UK adults (50%) are concerned that Brexit will have a negative impact on the UK economy and cause their personal finances to suffer.

Meanwhile, 53% are worried that a rise in the cost of everyday items over the next month will impact their spending.

Esme Harwood, director at Barclaycard, said: “Uncertainty over Brexit appears to be driving a shift in behaviour, with many Brits worrying about price rises and cutting back on non-essential spend, and some even stockpiling everyday items.

“Discretionary expenditure has seen a considerable decline – spending at retailers continues to decrease, and even hotels, pubs and restaurants are feeling the impact of cutbacks.”


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