Overall spending in July grew by 1.9 per cent year-on-year, which was an increase on 1.4 per cent in June, the results found. In fact, it’s stronger than the average growth rate that’s been tracked in the first half of the year altogether.The hospitality industry benefitted the most from consumers’ increased spend, with hotels, restaurants and bars recording an 8.6 per cent sales increase. It’s in line with shopping centre operator Hammerson, which has recorded a spike in sales following the launch of the summer holidays. In particular, the firm highlighted restaurants as a high performer, noting that sales grew with shoppers keen to embrace al fresco dining. “Confidence is at levels not seen since the 1990s; and we are hopeful that this sales growth momentum will continue,” said Hammerson CEO David Atkins. Other forms of leisure have also been popular, according to Visa. The recreation and culture sector, which includes cinemas and theme parks, grew by 5.6 per cent year-on-year but failed to beat the 5.7 per cent record set in June.
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Part of this may be down to the Smiler rollercoaster crash at Alton Towers in June having a knock-on effect to the recreation sector on the whole. The Merlin Entertainments-owned theme park announced in June that it anticipated a profit of just £47m in 2015 – falling from £87m last year.Kevin Jenkins, UK & Ireland MD at Visa Europe, said: “Consumer spending rose strongly in July, following a record performance in the second quarter of the year. With the holiday season in full swing, Brits spending on leisure activities for the family, dinners and nights out were behind the rise.” Elsewhere, miscellaneous goods and services, such as hairdressing and jewellery, rose by 5.1 per cent and household goods grew by two per cent. A marginal increase of 0.4 per cent was experienced by food and drink retailers following a June decline, though clothing and footwear sales fell by 0.6 per cent. As shoppers and businesses alike continue to turn to the internet, online retailers experienced a 6.3 per cent increase ahead of the 1.4 per cent of face-to-face purchases. Jenkins, added: “Looking forward, it will be interesting to see how consumers react to the possibility of interest rate increases looming on the horizon. The overall outlook for consumer spending remains positive rather than excessive, with low inflation and a pick-up in wages continuing to put money into the pocket of consumers.” By Zen Terrelonge
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