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Consumers shift spend from fashion to 'experiences'

Consumer spending on fashion fell by 2.8% year on year in April as the cold weather hit sales of spring ranges, Visa Europe has reported.

However, overall consumer spending was up 2.5% compared with April 2015, driven by recreation and culture (up 7.9%), hotels, restaurants and bars (up 6.6%) and household goods (up 3%).

Online spending increased 8.4%, the fastest pace of growth over the last 16 months, Visa Europe’s Consumer Spending Index showed.

Kevin Jenkins, UK and Ireland managing director at Visa Europe, said: “Growth in consumables remains evident, but consumer spending is increasingly focused on the experience economy.

“Eating out, booking holidays and discovering new experiences are all driving spending growth at a time when the lower cost of living is creating higher disposable incomes. In a month of mostly growth, the only sector to disappoint was clothing and footwear, again highlighting this shift.”

Annabel Fiddes, economist at Markit, said: “The prolonged spell of poorer weather reduced sales at clothing and footwear retailers for the second month in a row, as people put off purchasing their spring/summer ranges.”

She added: “As we head into the summer, however, weaker global economic conditions and an increasingly uncertain UK economic outlook could dampen expenditure growth.”

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