Consumer spending at restaurants, bars and hotels grew by 9.2 per cent in August, making it the fastest growing category for consumer spending, according to the Visa Europe UK Expenditure Index. Separate research from Barclays found that pub spending was up 9% in August, with spending at restaurants up 14.8 per cent in that month.
According to the Visa Europe research, the sector was ahead of clothing & footwear retailers (+5.2 per cent) and food & drink retailers (+4 per cent); the latter grew at the fastest rate since April’s near four-year high.
The high street saw a further increase in spending during August, with face-to-face spending volumes up +2.4 per cent compared to August 2013. Meanwhile, online spending fell on an annual basis (-1.6 per cent), following an increase in July (+3.5 per cent).
Overall consumer spending grew 2 per cent in August, with year-on-year growth recorded for the eleventh consecutive month.
Kevin Jenkins, managing director UK & Ireland at Visa Europe, said: “This month’s 2 per cent year-on-year rise in spending signifies the continued progress of the UK consumer economy.
“Hotels, restaurants and bars were the big winners this month and are enjoying a strong summer with August spend up 9.2% year-on-year. The high street overall has had a good month, bringing cheer back to bricks and mortar retailers. Consumers turned out in force with clothing and footwear performing particularly well, no doubt due to reasonable weather and end of summer sales. These factors have in turn led to a small fall in online spending.
“Looking ahead, the third quarter overall is shaping up to be the strongest for annual growth since the start of 2010 and another strong month in September will solidify this.”
Paul Smith, senior economist at Markit, said: “August’s Visa Europe: UK Expenditure Index continues to point to a healthy rate of growth in UK consumer spending through the summer, especially on the high street, which corroborates qualitative evidence from surveys on the positive performance of the retail sector during the summer.
“Important barometers of underlying spend – clothing, food and household goods – all showed positive real gains over the month. This highlights the on-going transition of increased consumer confidence that has been evident in recent months to higher volumes of expenditure in the UK.”