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Consumer spending takes a hit ahead of Christmas

Consumers held back on spending in November, with clothing sales down by 3.3% year on year and department store sales down by a “sharp” 5.9%.

This is according to new figures from Barclaycard, which showed that despite a 0.9% year on year increase in total consumer spending for the month, when accounting for inflation, this “represents a decline in real terms”.

Brexit, the upcoming election and consumer confidence all took their toll on spending last month, with the “restrained” expenditure continuing ahead of Christmas.

Barclaycard also found that 36% of shoppers intend to spend less than usual on Christmas this year, with 42% claiming that it is because they are looking to spend less money overall.

Barclaycard director Esme Harwood said: “With a backdrop of political uncertainty, consumer confidence has remained low this month – particularly amongst younger consumers – as Brits focus on discount shopping [which recorded a 6.9% growth in November] in a bid to tighten their purse strings this Christmas.

“Throughout 2019 we have seen the nation managing their budgets by seeking greater value for money, and this trend looks set to continue in December.

“As we head into the busy shopping season, retailers will no doubt be crossing their fingers for consumer confidence to rise enough to deliver some Christmas cheer”.

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