Furniture store card spending down in February 2024

Consumer card spending in furniture stores declined 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 3.6% – down for a fourteenth consecutive month, while transaction growth was positive, up 3.3% against the same month last year.

Home improvement and DIY stores saw spending growth fall 9.6%, with transaction growth down 4%. Department stores saw spending growth increase 1%, with transaction growth up by 5.1%. Discount stores saw a decline of 7.8% in spend growth, while transaction growth was down 12%.

Overall, consumer card spending grew just 1.9 per cent year-on-year last month – significantly lower than the latest CPIH inflation rate of 4.2 per cent and the smallest growth since September 2022. Face-to-face retail (excluding groceries) was a major contributor to this slowdown, contracting 2.2 per cent, which helped boost “Insperiences”, including takeaways and digital content, as Brits spent more time at home. Reassuringly, concerns about inflation, rising food prices and increasing household bills eased, while confidence in non-essential spending reached a two-year high.

Karen Johnson, Head of Retail at Barclays, said: “February’s wet weather meant Brits chose to spend more time indoors, resulting in a slowdown in high-street and hospitality spending. This shift in behaviour meant insperiences enjoyed a boost, as consumers opted to enjoy cosy nights in with a TV show and a takeaway.

“At the supermarket, the majority of shoppers have noticed the impact of supply issues on stock, with tea shortages causing the most concern. Meanwhile, ‘drip pricing’ has topped the list of shopper bugbears, particularly when using food delivery services and buying airline tickets.

“With Brits having reined in discretionary spending during the winter months, and as inflationary pressures begin to ease, retailers will be hopeful that the onset of warmer weather lifts spending – particularly if consumer confidence improves in the summer.”

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