Pub and restaurant spending has seen strong growth across March, driving non-essential spending among UK consumers according to Barclaycard data.
Pubs drove non-essential spend with a 15.1% increase year on year, while restaurant spending increased by 12.1%.
The figures, which contributed to an overall non-essential spend boost of 3.4%, compare to March 2018 when an extreme cold snap – dubbed the Beast from the East, blanketed the nation with snow and severely impacted sales across the board.
However the company, which oversees nearly half of the UK’s credit and debit transactions, said Brexit was impacting consumer choices amid continued uncertainty over the UK’s departure from the EU. The firm’s data found that three in ten consumers were concerned that the cost of everyday items would increase while 17% were worried about medicine shortages – prompting caution when spending.
Esme Harwood, director at Barclaycard, said: “In contrast to the extreme weather conditions experienced last year, a milder March resulted in an uplift in spending, with consumers dining out and making the most of the welcome sunshine.
“Despite this, underlying sentiment is cautious. March was characterised by ongoing uncertainty around Brexit, with consumers concerned about an impact on food prices and supplies. In light of this, consumer confidence in the UK economy is the lowest it’s been since we began recording this data.”