Spending up but consumers 'cutting back' ahead of Xmas

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Cutting back: spending in pubs grew 5.9% in the year to October but consumers pull back on non-essential purchases ahead of Christmas (Credit:Getty/SolStock)
Cutting back: spending in pubs grew 5.9% in the year to October but consumers pull back on non-essential purchases ahead of Christmas (Credit:Getty/SolStock)

Related tags Finance Barclaycard Food

Spending in pubs and bars grew 5.9% in the year to October, data from Barclaycard has revealed.

The upturn was attributed in part to sporting events, such as the Rugby World Cup​, having boosted sales in the on-trade.

However, the number of transactions in the sector grew at a slower rate, up 4.4% year-on-year, suggesting operators have been forced to up prices amid soaring costs across the board.

In addition, the bank also warned consumers had cut back on non-essential spending in a bid to save for Christmas and winter fuel bills.

Barclays director Esme Harwood said: "Brits cut back​ on non-essential categories in October, as thoughts turned to saving for Christmas and budgeting for winter fuel bills.

Hampered spending 

“The unseasonably warm weather ​also hampered spending on indoor experiences, including digital streaming services and takeaways.

“However, pubs, bars and clubs still achieved strong growth, boosted by England’s performance at the Rugby World Cup, while the travel sector benefitted from a rise in holiday bookings.”

The figures from Barclaycard​, which oversees nearly half the nations credit and debit card transactions, also revealed overall consumer spending was up 2.6% compared with the same period last year.

However, this was below the latest headline rate of inflation of 6.3% and the smallest uplift since September 2022.

Restaurants saw one of the biggest downturns across the 12-month period, with spend and transaction growth down 10.3% and 15% respectively.

Pulling back 

Supermarket sales saw a 5.2% and 4.2% upswing in spending and transactions respectively while takeaway and fast-food sales were up 5.6% compared with a transactional increase of 2.8%.

Barclays ​chief UK economist Jack Meaning said: “It looks as though the oomph continues to go out of squeezed UK consumers.

“The latest transaction data shows they are pulling back from discretionary spending and increasingly worried about their future ability to spend, adding to the picture painted by other data.

“Third-party consumer confidence data showed a significant drop in October, coming off the back retail sales contracting significantly in September.

“While some of these effects might be being amplified by unseasonal weather, it's hard to dismiss the growing evidence.”

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