UNITED KINGDOM (OBSERVATORY) – British consumers cut their spending in early 2018 at the fastest pace in more than five years, as heavy snowfalls, coupled with continued declines in household budgets, hit retailers, the Visa payment company said.
Visa said that consumer spending, adjusted for inflation, was 1.4% lower three months before the end of March than it was a year earlier, which was the most serious drop since the fourth quarter of 2012, in the fourth quarter of 2017. the reduction was 1.3%.
Expenditures only in March fell most strongly since October, having decreased by 2.1% compared to February, when the index decreased by 1%.
According to Visa, the weakness of consumer spending is associated with the low confidence of many households, as well as with unusually snowy weather in late February – early March.
“Nevertheless, it is too early to say this year-on-year, and this should be seen in the context of high growth rates in early 2017,” said Mark Antipof, chief commercial director of Visa.
Online sales fell for the first time in 10 months. Last month, the online supermarket Ocado reported that its sales were affected, after snowstorms broke supplies.
In early 2018, the overall economy of the UK seems to have slowed, as bad weather added uncertainty about the country’s exit from the European Union next year.