May bank holidays pushed consumer spend up 6.4%

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Welcome uplift: the on-trade saw a rise in spend last month (image: Getty/miniseries)
Welcome uplift: the on-trade saw a rise in spend last month (image: Getty/miniseries)

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Consumer spending at bars, pubs and clubs in May was up 6.4% against last year, largely driven by the bank holidays and coronation, new data has found.

Research on consumer card spending from Barclaycard revealed overall spend was up 3.6% year on year – less than half the latest CIPH inflation rate of 7.8% and lower than April (4.3%).

Meanwhile, data from market intelligence platform Oxford Partnership revealed drinkers quaffed 52.8m pints of draught beer and cider​ across the last May bank holiday weekend – a 10.4% increase compared to the Platinum Jubilee weekend last year.

Everyday spending

Furthermore, Barclaycard Payments research showed pub and bar transactions were up by more than a quarter (27.3%) against the same weekend in 2022.

Barclays director Esme Harwood said: “Consumers are still paying close attention to their everyday spending and we are seeing growing concerns around ‘shrinkflation’ in the weekly shop.

“Many are having to forgo discretionary purchases to offset rising food prices with closing and restaurants most impacted.

“However, the growth witnessed at pubs, airlines and entertainment venues shows Brits are still finding room in the budget to enjoy nights out and holidays.”

Stubbornly high prices

Elsewhere, the research showed spending on groceries rose by 8.9% year on year however, spending on fuel fell for the third month in a row (down 10.7% year on year) largely thanks to the drop in prices against May 2022.

Barclays head of European economics research Silvia Ardagna said: “Although the latest headline figures show inflation has fallen due to lower energy prices, the prices of core services and goods remain stubbornly high and continues to constrain real household disposable income and spending.

“The UK economy has escaped a technical recession for now but the forward-looking outlook remains one in which the economy is likely to stagnate as the impact of monetary tightening will more than offset the relief from lower energy prices.”

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