UK shoppers buy clothes for outdoor social life, holidays at home


LONDON (Reuters) – UK shoppers bought warm clothes to meet friends and family outdoors – as part of a wider increase in retail spending last month with many stores reopening – and people have booked more summer holidays in the UK, polls showed Tuesday.

The British Retail Consortium said total sales were 7.3% higher in April than in the same month two years ago.

The BRC said comparisons to April 2019 gave a better idea of ​​industry trends than its usual measure of year-over-year sales, which showed a jump of more than 50%, reflecting the shutdown of the industry. retail in April 2020.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said fashion retailers saw sales increase, especially in outerwear and knitwear, as the public braved the spring cold to find themselves outdoors so that pubs and restaurants partially reopen from April 12.

Furniture sales, which increased due to an increase in work from home and booming residential property sales, also increased.

“However, this sales growth is fragile,” Dickinson said. “There is little competition for the share of spending, while the hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors remain limited and inner cities and town centers continue to function poorly as many people continue to work. home.”

Separate figures from payment processor Barclaycard showed debit and card spending last month to be 0.4% higher than in April 2019, the first growth this year by that metric.

Spending on basic necessities rose 10.1%, the strongest growth since August last year, thanks to an 18.5% jump in supermarket purchases.

Resorts and accommodation grew 1.6% as many people considered taking their summer vacations to Britain, while airlines and travel agents reported declines in more than 80%, travel abroad being largely prohibited.

Fuel costs showed a smaller decline as more people traveled to see friends and family.

Barclaycard was unable to provide comparisons with April spending last year.

Barclaycard’s measure of consumer confidence in the economy rose to 36% in April from 28% in March, its highest level since February 2020, shortly before the start of the pandemic, echoing the latest GfK survey on consumer confidence.

The consumer confidence survey was based on interviews with 2,000 people between April 24 and April 26.

(Written by William Schomberg, edited by Andy Bruce)

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