Spending rate falls to lowest since 2014

UK shoppers were spending less in October than at any point in the last four years, according to a survey by payments provider Visa as reported by Reuters.

Consumer spending fell by 2.0% in October compared to October 2016, according to Visa credit and debit card data; this was the fifth time the spending rate fell in the last six months. Figures were adjusted to allow for seasonal and inflationary effects. Spending was 0.9% down on September levels.

Visa’s chief commercial officer Mark Antipof said: “The figures are a stark indicator of the strain on household budgets even before the Bank of England’s recent interest rate rise.”

Economic experts have warned that high inflation and low growth in wages mean that households are feeling the pinch, especially as the Bank of England recently raised interest rates from 0.25% to 0.50%.

Visa said that the hardest-hit spending categories in October were clothing and footwear, down 9% on the previous year. Food and drink, along with recreation and culture, also saw spending drops.

Visa said that spending in the all-important Black Friday and Cyber Monday seasonal sales would give a fuller picture of spending trends within the UK.