Restaurants and pubs resilient despite August exodus
Restaurants and pubs performed strongly this summer, despite the washout weather in August that drove large numbers of Brits abroad.
The latest data from Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of all credit and debit card transactions in the UK, saw travel spend surge by 7% in August as consumers supplemented their already-booked breaks with additional shorter trips abroad.
This bid to escape the above-average rainfall and below-average temperatures saw consumer spending growth slow to 3% year-on-year.
Despite the weather, however, restaurants continued to perform strongly, with growth of 13.3%. Pubs did well, too, with spending up 12.8%.
Nevertheless, over the summer, the amount spent per transaction in restaurants was down 5.4%. Similarly, while transaction volumes in pubs were 19.3% higher this summer, the amount spent per transaction was down 5.4%. This implies that, with no fall in prices, more visits are being made, but for smaller rounds.
Take-away spend also maintained its high level of growth throughout the month, averaging 50.2% in August and building on the growth of 52.7% in July when rainfall across the country was a third-higher than normal.
The number of travel transactions hit 28%, a record for August that helped drive a 7% increase in spending on holidays and family trips.
Hotel transactions in the UK and abroad were 10.5% higher in August, up 11.4% over the past three months. Overall spend growth on hotels dipped to 6.5% over the summer, down 0.5 percentage points on last year. This was triggered by a 4.3% fall in average spend levels, as shorter stays and last-minute deals brought down individual transaction levels.
Chris Wood, chief operating officer at Barclaycard, said: "With the country forecast to experience an Indian Summer this month, it'll be interesting to see whether spending levels recover."
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