Opinion

Back to school blues leaves shop sales down in the dumps

2 min read

30 September 2015

Consumer confidence dipped in September as shoppers worried about the state of the economy.

Global worries in China and Europe have left British shoppers in a depressed “back to school” mood knocking their demand for goods.

According to the latest GfK UK Consumer Confidence Index, conducted on behalf of the European Commission, shoppers are much less sure about their spending freedom in September than they were in August.

It said its consumer confidence index had slipped to +3 from +7 in August, which had matched June’s figure as the highest since January 2000. Economists had expected a reading of +6.

Market research firm GfK said more people were worried about both how the general economic situation has changed over the last 12 months and how it is likely to perform over the next year.

The index, measuring changes in personal finances during the last year, fell by two points in September to +1 – but was nine points higher than last September.

The forecast for personal finances over the next year has decreased by one point to +6.

The major purchase index fell three points in September whilst the savings index increased one point suggesting shoppers were preferring to store their money away rather than spend it.

“Consumers are in a depressed ‘back-to-school’ mood this month with a dip in people feeling good about the wider economy and their own personal economic circumstances. Across the board, all components of the Index have dropped despite a positive UK news agenda of continued near-zero inflation, low interest rates and levels of unemployment, UK wage growth at a six-year high and the ever increasing value of our homes,” said Joe Staton, head of market dynamics at GfK.

“Both the Chinese economic downturn and its negative impact on global markets and the ongoing migrant crisis, combined with other economic woes across the euro zone, has hit home.”

In a separate survey Lloyds Bank said optimism regarding the economy declined for a fourth consecutive month in September to the lowest level for over two years.

Its latest Lloyds Bank “Business Confidence Barometer”, which tracks 300 business leaders’ views of their own trading prospects and the wider UK economy found that economic optimism fell by six points to +34 per cent.