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Consumers 'tread water' ahead of Brexit

Consumer confidence edged up in September, although consumers continue to “tread water” in the run-up to Brexit. 

The GfK Consumer Confidence Index score for September was -10, up from -14 in August. In September 2018, the score was -9.

Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK, suggested the results offer “mixed signals”, as consumers continue to feel less than positive about the state of their personal finances and the general economy.

“Yes, all sub-measures are higher, but they are anaemic in the case of our purchase intentions and how we view our wallets, while the results on the wider economy are still depressed.

“Since the Brexit referendum we have witnessed a long succession of negative index scores with the overall trend downwards. This month, British consumers appear to be treading water during this wait-and-see run-up to 31 October.

“Confidence is an important indicator, which typically increases as the economy expands and decreases when the economy contracts, and so far, consumer confidence is holding up. We certainly have a long way to go to match the record low headline score of -39 witnessed during the early days of the last recession. But will it stay that way? You can almost sense people are keeping their fingers crossed.”

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