December rounds off dismal year on the high street

December rounds off dismal year on the high street

Visa’s latest UK Consumer Spending Index showed a drop in December, rounding off the worst year since 2012. The Index is compiled by economists at IHS Markit for Visa. It is based on real spending on all Visa cards, which accounts for more than £1 in every £3 spent in the UK, with a number of adjustments made by IHS Markit.

The Index found that December household expenditure fell by -1%, following the -0.9% drop in November. 2017 marked the first annual decline in consumer spending in five years, down -0.3% compared to 2016. Spending at food and drink retailers, however, edged up for first time in three months (+0.4%).

Mark Antipof, chief commercial officer for Visa, said: “Christmas rounded off a lean year for retailers, with consumer spending seeing its first consistent 12-month decline since 2012. December’s consumer spending figures confirm our earlier prediction that the UK would see its first fall in overall Christmas spending in five years. This result has bucked the trend of the previous four years, which saw annual consumer spending rise by an average of 1.7%.

“Hotels and restaurants were again a bright spot in December’s results. Consumers have been opting to spend on UK staycations as opposed to physical items and trips abroad.”