Furniture store card spending down again

Consumer card spending in furniture stores declined again during February when compared to last year, says new data from Barclays.

According to the latest Barclays Consumer Spending Index, which includes both debit and credit cards, furniture store spending growth declined 6.5%, while transaction growth also fell 7.5% against the same month last year. This marked a second month of decline during 2023.

Home improvement and DIY stores saw spending growth fall 3.5%, with transaction growth down 1%. Department stores saw spending growth increase 9.2%, with transaction growth also up by 15.1%. Discount stores saw 5.5% and 3.5% growth respectively.

Overall, consumer card spending grew 5.9% year-on-year in February, below the latest CPIH inflation rate of 8.8%, owing to a reduction in discretionary purchases amidst the ongoing the cost-of-living squeeze. Growth rates were also impacted by the lifting of Omicron Plan B restrictions last year, which caused a spike in spending due to pent-up demand, bringing down this year’s figures.

Data from Barclays, which sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, reveals that spending on groceries increased just 6.6 per cent in February – well below the latest food price inflation figures – as almost seven in 10 (68 per cent) Brits say they are looking for ways to reduce the cost of their weekly shop.

Esme Harwood, Director at Barclays, said: “Several categories saw their growth taper off last month, especially those in the hospitality & leisure sector. This is partly because they couldn’t match the pent-up demand witnessed at the end of last year’s Plan B restrictions, and also due to the ongoing cutbacks brought on by the cost-of-living squeeze.

“The recent fruit and veg shortages are forcing Brits to consider alternatives for their weekly shop, as they continue to look for savvy ways to offset rising food price inflation. Popular trends this month include buying ‘dupes’ of popular products, shopping at discount stores, and limiting Easter spending.”

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