[LONDON] British consumer spending recorded the biggest annual increase during the second quarter in five years, according to figures published on Monday based on credit and debit card transactions from Visa Europe.
Consumer spending rose 1.4 per cent on the year in the three months to June, the biggest increase since the second quarter of 2010, Visa Europe said.
Britain's big-spending consumers have been a big driver of the country's economic upturn over the past couple of years, aided recently by a slow pick-up in wages and low inflation. "Prudent rather than excessive spending looks to be the order of the day, but people are definitely enjoying themselves," said Kevin Jenkins, an executive at Visa Europe. "Dining and nights out, leisure trips and cultural treats all saw sharp increases in spending in June. In contrast, big summer discounts failed to lift spend on clothing." Visa Europe said spending fell by a monthly 0.8 per cent in June, after a similar-sized decline in May, although the survey compilers said the monthly measure tended to be volatile.
Consumer morale surged to a more than 15-year high in June as shoppers said they were ready to spend, according to market research company GfK.
Most economists and the Bank of England expect British economic growth will quicken from the 0.4 per cent quarterly expansion seen in the first three months of the year.