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Mon 23rd Apr 2018 - UK consumer confidence grows but spending stutters
UK consumer confidence grows but spending stutters: UK consumer confidence improved in the first quarter of 2018, rising by one percentage point from the previous quarter, according to the latest Consumer Tracker report from Deloitte. However, while consumer spending on essential categories such as food and drink rose during the period, discretionary spend remained flat. Overall consumer confidence rose to minus 6% in the first quarter of 2018, up from minus 7% the previous quarter. Overall consumer confidence is now at its highest level since first-quarter 2016 and, while confidence remains in negative territory, the latest results are a positive step from the minus 10% seen in the second quarter of 2017. Despite UK unemployment at a historic low, job security remains a key concern for consumers, falling two percentage points compared with the fourth of quarter 2017. Despite growing confidence over job opportunities, which rose one percentage point compared with the previous quarter, high-profile administrations may have weighed heavily on consumers’ minds. Consumer spending on essential categories such as utility bills, transport, and food and drink, rose one percentage point to 13% compared with the same period a year ago. By contrast, discretionary spending, which includes going out, furniture and electrical appliances, remained flat at minus 6. Deloitte head of consumer business research Ben Perkins said: “Consumer business, in particular the retail and casual dining sectors, have had to face unprecedented challenges over the past year. Cautious spending, increased competition, and rising labour and rental costs have been the cause for much head scratching across the sector. Second-quarter confidence may improve further, with the belated arrival of warmer weather and optimism ahead of the World Cup, which is an event that has historically provided a boost to consumer spending across a range of categories.” The quarterly Deloitte Consumer Tracker surveys more than 3,000 UK consumers.

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