Sunshine boosts consumer spending

SunshineSunny weather and lower prices helped consumer spending rise at its highest rate in 18 months in June, figures have shown.

Barclaycard said the 4.9% increase compared to the same period last year showed the economic recovery was continuing to gather pace.

Garden centre spending leapt by 19.2% while DIY stores saw a rise of 8% as weather improved, but cinema and theatre sales were also strong, up 15.6%.

Britons also splashed out more on dining out, with restaurant spending up 11.8%, while airline spending rose by 13.3%.
Barclaycard said the better weather and more pressure on the high street to reduce prices saw parts of the retail sector experiencing a bounce.

Clothes spending, after a spell in the doldrums, saw a 4.2% rise, credited to consumers finally shelling out to update their wardrobes for the summer. However department stores fell back by 5.9% compared to last year while furniture stores declined 1.6% and electronic stores by 1%, following a short uplift in May.

Meanwhile online spending continued its growth, up 12.8% on the year before, taking it to a near one-fifth share (19.7%) of consumer spending.

But bricks-and-mortar stores also saw an upturn, of 3.3%, the highest rate seen so far in 2013, according to Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of all card transactions in the UK.

Val Soranno Keating, chief executive of Barclaycard, said: "A combination of better weather and lower prices encouraged more of us to open up our wallets in June, which proved to be another buoyant month for consumer spending in the UK, up almost 5% on the same month last year.

"It's the highest spend growth that we've seen in 18 months, the third month in a row where it's out-stripped inflation, and means that consumer spend was up (3.3%) for the first half of the year against 2012, providing further evidence that the UK economy is turning a corner."