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Consumer confidence "past the worst"

Consumer confidence appears to have turned a corner, according to the latest Deloitte Consumer Tracker.

Sentiment has risen to -29% compared to -36% in 2012.

This is the highest consumer confidence has been in the two years Deloitte has tracked it, and is attributed to a reduction in concerns about debt, which have nearly halved from last year to -8%.

Ian Stewart, chief economist at Deloitte, said: “The UK consumer is past the worst and sentiment is gradually improving.

“We are picking up signs that consumers are less focused on the shopping strategies they used to beat the recession, such as trading down, bargain hunting or buying on sale. If the economy continues to mend then we would expect this shift away from defensive behaviour to begin to translate into a greater willingness to spend.”

However Stewart added that consumer mood remains “cautious”.

“Given the many false dawns since the start of the global financial crisis and the continuing pressure on incomes, consumer spending is unlikely to return to pre-crisis rates of growth for a long time.” 

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