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UK consumer confidence at lowest level since May

Retail

UK consumer confidence at lowest level since May

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

23 Nov 2020

UK consumer confidence has fallen to a six month low, the lowest since spring’s coronavirus restrictions. The findings from the GfK consumer confidence index tracker dropped a further -33 points in November, two points lower than in October, and the lowest reading since May.

Consumers were particularly pessimistic about their financial situation, reflecting high uncertainty over jobs and business survival, reported the Financial Times. “People are clearly losing their nerve regarding their personal finances,” said Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK. This will deal a blow to any future rebound because bullish consumer spending fuels the UK economy and low confidence is the enemy of recovery.”

The retail outlook for Black Friday remains bleak with all non-essential stores shut over the sales period. Usually at this point in the year, the expectations of the upcoming months are full of optimism and planning.

Figures from Fable Data show UK spending has continued to decline through the first 11 days of the national lockdown across England. In the week of 9 - 15 November Fable Data indicates that UK spend declined to 8.8 percent YoY, the lowest level since July. While spend declines are noticeable across a number of categories, they appear to be more moderate than those seen through the prior lockdown period (Mar-Jun).

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) said October’s total retail sales values (excluding fuel), saw an increase of 7.9 percent when compared with February; driven by a strong increase in sales online at 52.8 percent in comparison to reduced store sales at negative 3.3 percent.

Clothing stores were largely effected by the restrictions in place for non-essential stores during lockdown measures and were adversely effected as a result. These figures will be compounded by store remaining closed during the most important retail period of the year.

Article source: FT, ONS, Fable Data