Consumer confidence increases in 'faintly bullish' uptick

Consumer confidence made a healthy jump in March as shoppers turned "faintly bullish" amid the prospect of wage rises and movement on Brexit.

GfK's long-running Consumer Confidence Index rose by three points with increases across the board on personal finances, the general economy and spending intentions.

The core score remains in negative territory at minus seven, but GfK described the uptick as "definitely a movement in the right direction".

GfK's Consumer Confidence Index (GfK/PA)
GfK's Consumer Confidence Index (GfK/PA)

Joe Staton, head of experience innovation UK at GfK, said: "Despite the Beast from the East leaving the nation shivering under a blanket of snow, stoic UK consumers turned faintly bullish this March with a three-point uptick in the overall index score to minus seven.

"Spring is in the air with increases across the board on personal finances, the general economy, over the last year and next year, and on current major purchase intentions.

"The prospect of wage rises finally outstripping declining inflation, high levels of employment with low-level interest rates and finally some movement on the Brexit front appear to have boosted our spirits.

"It's still a little early to be talking about green shoots, and the core score is of course still negative, but this is definitely a movement in the right direction."

The index measuring changes in personal finances during the last 12 months increased three points this month to positive three, one point higher than this time last year, while the forecast for the next 12 months has increased five points to positive 10, seven points higher than last March.

Expectations for the general economic situation over the next 12 months increased four points to minus 22, two points lower than this time last year.

The major purchase index, a measure of confidence in spending on big-ticket items, increased two points this month to positive two, four points lower than last March.

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