Consumer spending rises 7.6 per cent in May

Consumer spending grew by 7.6 per cent last month, as easing of restrictions saw more Brits hit the shops.

According to research from Barclaycard, spending at supermarkets saw strong growth across the month of 17.7 per cent.

Clothing sales jumped 8.5 per cent, while pharmacy, health, and beauty outlets saw spending grow by 17.8 per cent.

Spending on essential items grew 11.4 per cent compared to May 2019 – the sharpest increase since before the onset of the pandemic.

The wet weather in early May did not deter consumers from returning to shops, with overall spending on non-essential items rising 5.8 per cent compared to the same period in 2019, while spending at non-essential retailers grew 8 per cent.

Specialist retailers, such as gift shops, toy shops and jewellers, enjoyed growth of 27.2 per cent – over four times higher than the previous month’s increase.

“May was a positive month for a range of categories, with the nation clearly determined to show support for retailers and local businesses,” said Raheel Ahmed, head of consumer products. “As friends and families reunited after months apart, it is reassuring to see signs of recovery for the entertainment and hospitality industries, both of which have faced significant challenges over the past year.”

Ahmed added: “While international holidays continue to be hampered by restrictions, staycations in the UK are providing a welcome boost to the travel sector, as May saw more holidaymakers, particularly in the older age groups, book or embark on trips. With summer – and hopefully more of this warmer weather – on the way, we hope to see these positive trends continue as Brits make the most of their newfound freedoms.”

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