Furniture store card spending down in March 2024

Consumer card spending in furniture stores declined during March 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 5% – down for a fifteenth consecutive month, while transaction growth was positive, up 1.7% against the same month last year.

Home improvement and DIY stores saw spending growth fall 7.4%, with transaction growth down 1.2%. Department stores saw spending growth increase 0.1%, with transaction growth up by 2.9%. Discount stores saw a decline of 6.8% in spend growth, while transaction growth was down 10.4%.

Overall, consumer card spending growth flatlined in March, on par with February’s 1.9 per cent uplift, and significantly less than the latest CPIH inflation rate of 3.8 per cent. This was largely due to a slowdown in non-essential spending, which saw its smallest increase (1.6 per cent) since September 2022, as wet weather dampened both retail and restaurant sales. However, encouragingly, new data sourced from millions of Barclays current accounts reveals growing stability in UK housing costs.

Karen Johnson, Head of Retail at Barclays, said: “Retailers were braced for a more subdued start to 2024, and recent figures are in line with expectations. The wet weather has been a key factor in the slowdown in discretionary spending, as it’s meant fewer visits to the high street and to hospitality venues.

“However, in spite of this initial lull, many retailers are confident that spending will rebound in the coming months, particularly in anticipation of better weather, the energy price cap drop, an uplift in the National Minimum Wage, and the buzz around major events such as Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour and the Paris 2024 Olympics.”

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