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Mon 9th Jan 2017 - Restaurants, bars and hotels spearhead strongest quarter for consumer spending since 2014, Ralph Lauren to launch first UK bar
Restaurants, bars and hotels spearhead strongest quarter for consumer spending since 2014: Restaurants, bars and hotels spearheaded the strongest quarter for consumer spending for two years, according to the latest data from Visa. Average year-on-year growth for each month in the fourth quarter of 2016 was 2.8%, twice as high as the average rates for quarters two and three, Visa’s UK Consumer Spending Index has revealed. Consumer spending was up 2.6% on the year in December, led by a 7.3% increase in expenditure at restaurants, hotels and bars and 6.4% in recreation and culture. On an annual basis, total expenditure was down slightly from November’s 22-month record of +3.1%. Food was another sector that performed well, with spend up 2.9%. Spend on clothing and household goods, however, fell 1.1% and 0.7% respectively in December following a Black Friday boost in the previous month. Health and education, along with miscellaneous goods and services, also saw drops in spend of 1.6% and 0.4% respectively. Spending growth remained solid in e-commerce categories (+5.5% year-on-year), but rose only slightly in face-to-face categories (+0.7%). Visa UK and Ireland managing director Kevin Jenkins said: “Consumer spending continued to increase solidly in the run-up to Christmas, rounding off the fastest-growing quarter for two years. Average year-on-year growth for each month in the fourth quarter of 2016 was 2.8%, twice as high as the average rates for quarters two and three. Online retailers enjoyed strong sales over the whole Christmas period, while bricks and mortar retailers saw an improvement after a disappointing dip in November as consumers made a last minute dash for gifts on the high street. Growth was once again led by the experience sector, with consumers going to Christmas markets, travelling to visit loved ones or venturing to various parts of the country to celebrate. Food was, unsurprisingly, another sector that performed well, with spend up 2.9%. Spend on clothing and household goods, however, fell in December following a Black Friday boost in the previous month.”

Ralph Lauren to launch first UK bar: Ralph Lauren will launch its first UK bar on Thursday (12 January), in London. Ralph’s Coffee & Bar will open adjacent to the company’s new European flagship store – Polo Ralph Lauren in Regent Street. Inspired by The Polo Bar in Manhattan and its Ralph’s Coffee range, Ralph’s Coffee & Bar will be a new concept for London, adding to the designer’s hospitality portfolio that also includes Paris and Chicago. Paying homage to the equestrian lifestyle long synonymous with Ralph Lauren in a club-like atmosphere, Ralph’s Coffee & Bar will feature saddle leather banquettes, a brass-topped bar, dark wood panelling and green billiard cloth decorating the walls with a collection of equestrian-themed artwork. The venue will seat 24, with 12 additional seats at the bar. Ralph’s Coffee & Bar will serve a selection of coffee and classic cocktails. The cocktail list will feature classics such as an Old Fashioned and Ridgway Margarita, in addition to cocktails devised specially for London to be enjoyed with signature bar snacks – fried olives and mixed nuts. Ralph’s Coffee is roasted specifically for Ralph Lauren using organically grown beans crafted by La Colombe.

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