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Spending on fashion and footwear falls in September

There was a welcome pick-up in overall household expenditure in September, but spending on clothing and footwear fell for the second month in a row, data compiled by Visa shows.

UK households spent 2.4% more in September than the same period in 2015, according to Visa’s UK Consumer Spending Index. This followed a difficult August, when spending crept up by just 0.1% – the weakest rate in nearly three years.

Visa said expenditure growth was “showing tentative signs of recovery after a soft patch that began in May in the lead-up to the Brexit vote”.

However, this growth was led by strong increases spending on recreation and culture, and hotels, restaurants and bars, rather than retail.

Spending at clothing and footwear retailers fell 1.3% year on year.

Online sales grew 6%, but face-to-face spend was up just 0.1%.

Kevin Jenkins, UK and Ireland managing director at Visa, said: “Economic concerns took something of a back seat in September, with consumers reverting to more traditional spending patterns as they took advantage of the last of the summer sun. Overall spend bounced back strongly from a broadly flat August, and was the highest level seen in the past five months at an annual rate of 2.4%.

“Growth was once again driven by the ‘experience economy’, as people spent more on meals out, family holidays and trips to the theatre. On the other hand, clothing and footwear suffered another fall in sales, with little evidence of the back-to-school ranges providing any significant boost.

“The gap between ecommerce and high street retailers continues to widen, with the former posting 6% growth, while the latter saw spend remain almost flat.”

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