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Creditfix LB 03-2017

Consumer Retail Spending Shows First Signs of Slowing

Following the UK growth forecast upgrade from the Bank of England last week, figure from Barclaycard have indicated a possible slowdown in consumer retail spending on luxury goods.

The credit card division of Barclays bank reported an increase in annual retail spending overall to 4.4 per cent from the 4 per cent reported in December 2016.

The overall picture however included a surge of 15 per cent in petrol spending as fuel costs rose. Spending in department stores and on electronic goods actually fell in January.

A separate industry survey by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) also showed a slowdown in spending by consumers last month.

Sales reduced by 0.6 per cent compared to January 2016 once new store openings were excluded, the first fall in like for like sales for a month since August last year, and a reversal of the 1.0 per cent increase in December.

Sales only rose by 0.1 per cent compared to an increase of 1.7 per cent in December, and in contrast to the 0.8 per cent rise expected buy economists according to a recent Reuters poll.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson commented: ‘These figures suggest that ?caution? was top of new year shopping lists and the uptick in credit card lending at the end of last year may be short lived,

She continued: ‘With the signs pointing to upward pressures on shop prices given rising import costs, all eyes will be on the impact of inflation on consumer spending.’

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