Spending on pubs, bars and clubs reached 43.4%, the highest growth recorded for over 17 months, as the easing of lockdown restrictions across the UK led to a surge in spending.
In total, consumer card spending rose by 15.4% last month, compared to the same period in 2019, with growth recorded across all sectors apart from international travel.
Restaurant spending increased by 0.1% against August 2019, and with office workers adjusting to new work and lifestyle patterns the growth looks set to continue, according to Barclaycard.
Of those returning to the office after having worked from home during the pandemic, 34% plan to spend more on takeaway breakfast or lunch, and 26% intend to up their spending on socialising after work.
It comes as operators reported a boost in city centre trade yesterday (6 September) as the London Underground recorded its busiest morning since the start of the pandemic on the first Monday following the summer holidays.
PizzaExpress has reported that trading for its restaurant group is now ahead of 2019 levels. A spokesperson said: “Across the UK the gradual return to office working is translating into slightly increased trade at our city centre sites. We are optimistic that this trend will increase further.”
Spencer Craig, CEO of health-focused grab and go brand Pure, said sales in its shops were 30% up yesterday compared with a fortnight ago.
“It’s definitely busier today, although from a fairly low base,” he told The Guardian.
“We wouldn’t expect to see the full impact for the next few days as Mondays look like they are now going to be quiet for ever, but we think that over the next couple of days it will carry on building.”