Furniture store card spending down in December 2023

Consumer card spending in furniture stores declined during December 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 4.7% – down for a twelfth consecutive month, while transaction growth was barely positive, up 0.1% against the same month last year.

Home improvement and DIY stores saw spending growth fall 8.5%, with transaction growth down 4%. Department stores saw spending growth decrease 0.2%, with transaction growth up by 3.7%. Discount stores saw a decline of 10.2% in spend growth, while transaction growth was down 12.7%.

Overall, consumer card spending grew 2.3% year-on-year in December – less than the latest CPIH inflation rate of 4.2% and lower than November’s growth of 2.9%. Retail spending struggled to maintain the momentum it had built up in November through early seasonal discounts, while entertainment and travel thrived as consumers booked experiences and getaways for 2024.

Karen Johnson, Head of Retail at Barclays, said: “Hospitality and leisure businesses will be encouraged by December’s strong growth, particularly in the entertainment category, which saw growing demand for live shows, new films and TV series.

“Meanwhile, grocery and retail spending didn’t see as much of an increase as we might have expected during the height of the festive season. This is likely due to many retailers and supermarkets starting discounts and promotional activity earlier than usual, meaning that many Brits had been making the most of these deals and completed most of their Christmas shopping by December.

“While the upcoming energy price cap is weighing on Brits’ minds, the falling rate of inflation offers a glimmer of positivity and it’s encouraging to see the nation’s optimism increase slightly as we head into a new year.”

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