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UK consumer spending falls by 1% over December – but hospitality bucks the trend

16 January 2019 by
UK consumer spending falls by 1% over December – but hospitality bucks the trend

UK consumer spending continued to decline in December 2018, with face-to-face expenditure falling by 1.6% while hospitality spend rose strongly.

Data from the Visa UK consumer spending index found overall spending fell by 1%, the strongest decline since April 2018. Face-to-face spending fell by 1.6% over the month, but was offset by a 0.5% increase in ecommerce spends.

European principal economist for Visa, Adolfo Laurenti, said: "The further decline in UK consumer spending in December 2018 is a disappointment, but not a surprise.

"Notwithstanding a backdrop of low unemployment and rising wages, households remained very cautious at the end of the year - as they were for most of 2018.

"An acceleration in spending at hotels, restaurants and bars (+7.6% year-on-year) suggests that some categories of discretionary spending are holding up better than the market as a whole. And the modest pickup in ecommerce point to the resilience of digital channels of distribution, a favourable long-term trend that recent woes have not derailed."

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