Consumer spending on clothing and footwear has dropped by 1.6% year on year, while expenditure across the board had its weakest start to the year since 2012.
Visa’s UK Consumer Spending Index shows that clothing and footwear suffered a “modest decline” during February, with the 1.6% figure showing improvement on a benchmark 2.3% fall in January and 2.6% drop in December.
Spending on cards across all categories fell by 1.1% in February, with the first quarter of 2018 on track to be the “worst on record”.
Face-to-face spending decreased by 2.5%, while growth in ecommerce expenditure rose only slightly by 0.2% after a 1.5% rise in January.
By category, recreation and culture saw the steepest decline overall after tumbling by 6.1% year-on-year, in what is notably its sharpest decline since April 2010.
Mark Antipof, chief commercial officer at Visa, commented: “Britons have been in belt-tightening mode since last summer. February’s cold snap certainly didn’t alleviate this situation, particularly when we shine a spotlight on high street spending, and recreation and culture in particular.
“As we look ahead into March, consumer spending is at risk of posting one of the worst Q1 results on record. Retailers will no doubt be hoping that the milder weather will put a spring in shoppers’ steps.”