Furniture store card sales post mini boost during August

Consumer card spending grew 4.7% year-on-year in August – the smallest uplift since March 2021 – as rising living costs hampered the retail sector.

While the summer holidays boosted spending on hospitality and domestic travel, overall card spending declined -1.9% month-on-month, as consumers become more selective with discretionary purchases to ensure they can afford rising household bills.

Data from Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, reveals that spending on essential items grew 7.2% year-on-year – its highest growth since December 2021 (8.9%).

Furniture stores were a bright spot, rising 4% compared to -11.9% from July’s -15.7%, likely due to the start of summer sales at some major retailers, but remained down against the same month last year with transaction growth also declining 17.6%.

José Carvalho, Head of Consumer Products at Barclaycard, said: “The cost-of-living is clearly leading Brits to cut-back on some non-essential purchases to ensure they can afford the increasing costs of their weekly grocery shop and household utility bills. Yet, despite these inflationary pressures, consumers have still been keen to enjoy the summer weather by eating and drinking out and going on staycations with friends and family.

“However, an energy price rise on the horizon means the majority are understandably very concerned about whether their finances can stretch far enough to afford rising household bills. Many Brits plan to continue cutting back on their discretionary spending during the autumn and winter, while adopting a resourceful approach to saving money in order to weather a challenging period ahead.”

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