No pre-Brexit cutback for spending in pubs and restaurants

Overall spending was subdued in August.
Overall spending was subdued in August.
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Spending in pubs rocketed by more than 10 per cent in August - despite subdued consumer spending overall ahead of Brexit.

UK consumers refused to cut back on socialising and eating out as they tightened their belts in other areas such as petrol, which fell by 1.9 per cent.

Restaurants also enjoyed an 8.6 per cent increase, while supermarket spend remained largely flat at just 1.3 per cent growth.

Overall, non-essential spending, which includes eating out and socialising, rose by 1.4 per cent, Travel increased by a modest 0.6 per cent, with travel agents up 1.0 per cent, whereas airlines and hotels contracted by 0.4 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively.

In contrast to the overall trend seen by the retail sector in recent months, spending at discount stores rose by 8.0 per cent – suggesting that many consumers are seeking better value for money in the purchases they make.

Esme Harwood, director at Barclaycard, which carried out the research, said: “August’s figures signal the end of a fairly subdued summer for consumer spending – showing a marked contrast to the previous August. A weak pound and worries about rising prices are causing concern for many, with Brits looking to better balance their household budgets.

“That said, spending at pubs and restaurants remains robust, suggesting Brits have been making the most of the longer days by relaxing and dining out.”

Economic uncertainty and the effect of the weak pound weighed heavily on consumers’ minds in August, the report found. Only 31 per cent of UK adults suggest they are confident in the UK economy while over half are worried about the impact of rising prices over the next month.

As a result of their concerns about inflation, over a third of Brits plan to adapt their buying behaviour. Most commonly, these consumers say they will visit discount stores more often to balance the household budget, with 43 per cent planning to seek out bargains this way. This is followed by cutting back on treats and looking for more discounts online.

Almost one in five Brits say they are stockpiling everyday items in case of shortages in the future – rising to a quarter of 18-34 year olds. Tinned foods, household supplies and dried goods top the list of products being stockpiled.