Feb 9, 2021
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Shuttered stores dented consumer fashion spending last month says Barclaycard

Feb 9, 2021

Barclaycard said consumer spending was down 16.3% year-on-year last month, which is the largest decline since May 2020. That happened even though spending on essential items grew 3.9%.

Stores stayed closed in January and consumer spending on fashion suffered - Photo: Sandra Halliday

The big problem was that spending on non-essentials dropped a massive 24.2% as more shops were forced to close. The biggest design declines were seen in department stores, which were down 36.8%. But clothing stores also declined by 25% in value (and 39.2% in the number of transactions) and pharmacy, health and beauty was down 27.2%. But discount store spend rose 18.1%, even though the volume of transactions dropped 6.2%.

The company processes almost half of the UK’s credit and debit card transactions and said that as consumers became more reliant on internet shopping, online retail surged 73.2%. It accounted for 54.9% of all retail spend in January. Specialist retailers, which includes stationery shops and sports & outdoor retailers, recorded particularly strong growth online (87.7%), as many people bought equipment to home-school their children and keep fit while schools and gyms were closed.

The company’s figures also take in spending on categories such as travel, bars/pubs, and restaurants — all of which saw declines of more than 80%.

But consumer interest in spending wasn't only limited by the restrictions placed on social activities. Barclaycard also said that in the challenging circumstances, only 40% of Britons were confident in their job security – dropping 10% from last January to the lowest level in over a year.

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