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Thu 27th Apr 2017 - Eating out and holidays prop up UK consumer spending levels
Eating out and holidays prop up UK consumer spending levels: Consumer spending levels in the UK remained steady in the first quarter despite fears of a slowdown, according to the latest Cardlytics Spending Index. Figures from the report, which is based on the spending behaviour of more than three million bank customers, show continued long-term demand for eating out. Growth was driven by the strength of the food-on-the-go and dining out market. Quick-service restaurants (QSR) and (non-fast food) restaurant spend increased 17.6% and 8.6% respectively compared with the same period last year. Both categories increased their foothold in the market, with QSR spend up 0.2% and restaurant spend rising 0.4% year-on-year. Spending on flights increased the most, with a 58.4% spike since the previous quarter – the highest since 2015 – and a year-on-year increase of 8.3%. There are signs the number of domestic trips are also increasing, with hotel spend up 10% year-on-year and spend on petrol up 14.1%, despite a widespread push to lower fuel prices. The grocery and fashion sectors were among the fallers. The index found overall spending weakened but remained intact. Seasonal dip aside (down 10% on the fourth quarter), overall consumer spend was up 2.7% year-on-year and 7% compared with the same period in 2015. Peter Gleason, president of international operations at Cardlytics, said: “The growing trend to spend money locally, at restaurants and hotels among other areas, presents an opportunity for brands to get creative and build relationships with existing customers and attract new ones.”

UK hospitality industry set for bumper year as home and international visitors plan UK holidays: Britain’s hospitality industry is set for a record year, with a substantial increase in home and international visitors planning holidays in the UK, according to Barclays Corporate Banking report “Destination UK”. The study looked at the 2017 holiday preferences of almost 10,000 guests from the UK, continental Europe, the US, Middle East, Asia and Australia, with almost two-thirds (63%) of international holidaymakers saying they were more interested in holidaying in the UK than this time last year. Almost one-third (31%) cited a weaker pound as the biggest lure, with one-fifth of respondents stating TV programmes such as The Crown appealed most, while high-profile advertising campaigns had attracted 29% of overseas audiences. The average length of a UK visit is nine days, with the average budget, including airfares, at £3,443. However, American and Chinese guests are set to have even larger budgets this year, at an average £5,230 and £5,424 respectively. Regarding Brexit, more than half of respondents (51%) said the EU referendum had no impact on their likelihood to visit the UK, while almost one-third (31%) said they were more likely to visit. Popularity of the staycation also continues to rise, with almost one-third (30%) of UK holidaymakers expecting to spend more holiday time in the country this year. Nearly four in ten respondents (38%) who cited cost as a factor behind a UK break said the weaker pound made holidays in the UK preferable, while 39% said a domestic holiday represented better value for money. The research revealed the average British budget for UK breaks is £800, with more than one-fifth (22%) planning to spend at least £1,000. Brits also expect to spend an average £309 on accommodation, £152 on dining out and £121 on shopping. The report said operators should consider generational differences when introducing technology and experiential offerings, with more than one-third (36%) of millennials more likely to use a bar that offered automated drinks dispensing, compared with 6% of over-55s. Barclays head of hospitality and leisure Mike Saul said: “Underlying this increase is the quality of our hospitality industry and the UK’s enduring appeal. Offering guests tailored experiences will be key to success for operators in the UK hospitality and leisure sector in 2017.”

ALMR begins annual search for best in licensed hospitality: Nominations have opened for the 2017 Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers’ (ALMR) Operations Managers Awards, the annual search for the best people in the licensed hospitality industry. The awards identify and celebrate outstanding individuals who run multi-site businesses within the managed and leased sectors. Awards founder Nick Bish said: “Operations managers are vital to the success of inventive and exciting companies, driving innovation and accomplishment across the UK.” Nominations can be made online at www.almropsawards.org.uk with downloadable entry papers to be submitted before Monday, 31 July. Entry papers will then be scored, with the top 20 nominees making it through to the finals. The finalists will each spend a day in the field with a judge, who will be an experienced and knowledgeable industry executive. The final judging involves interviews with separate panels made up of leading industry professionals. This year, the winners will be revealed at a ceremony in London on Tuesday, 7 November – the same evening of the finals judging – before being presented at the ALMR Christmas Lunch on Tuesday, 19 December at Old Billingsgate, London.

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