UK women's clothing sales up 4.5%; highest since Jan 2016

August 07, 2018 - United Kingdom

The long spell of warm weather has been good news for women’s clothing, with spend increasing 4.5 per cent year-on-year in July–the strongest rise since January 2016–as shoppers updated their summer wardrobes. Consumer spending was up 5 per cent, according to data from Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions.

As Brits made the most of the long hot summer, July 2018 marked the third consecutive month of growth above 5 per cent and the strongest three-month period since Barclaycard began measuring this data in 2014.

Essential spending climbed 8.7 per cent in July, driven by a strong rise in supermarkets of 6.7 per cent, Barclaycard said in a press release.

“Consumers have been keen to take advantage of the sunshine while it lasts, with almost a quarter (23 per cent) saying the hot weather this summer has prompted them to spend more money than usual on experiences and outdoor activities,” the release said.

However, despite a willingness to spend on summer treats while the good weather lasts, shoppers remain cautious about the broader economic picture with confidence in household finances dropping six percentage points from June to 59 per cent last month.

Rising interest rates are another area of concern for some, with one in three (34 per cent) saying they are worried that the Bank of England raising interest rates on August 2 means they will have less spending money each month.

“The prolonged warm weather combined with England’s World Cup performance has created a short-term boost in spending. With the sunshine showing no sign of abating, spending levels have remained higher than we would normally expect with Brits keen to make the most of the heatwave,” said Esme Harwood, director at Barclaycard.

“It will be interesting to see if this strong level of growth continues as we move into the final stretch of summer. It’s clear that some consumers remain cautious about what’s to come with interest rates rising and overall confidence in household finances down slightly from June,” Harwood added. (RKS)