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Drop in eating out spend "less steep" in June

Consumer spending on eating out and drinking in June declined by 56.4% year-on-year, however, this represents a less steep drop than in May (70.3%), according to a report by Barclaycard.

Takeaways and fast food rose for the first time since pre-lockdown with a 5.7% yearly growth, as restaurants, pubs and cafes continued to establish takeaway and delivery services and Brits enjoyed al-fresco dining with friends.

Consumer spending fell 14.5% year-on-year in June – the smallest decline since lockdown began – with month-on-month figures showing an uplift as shops re-open.

Data from Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, reveals that spending on essential items grew 6.6% – an improvement of 5.7% compared to May, which saw a 0.9% increase. This was largely driven by shopping in supermarkets, with the category rising by 25.7% overall – its sharpest since the start of the year.

There were signs, however, that the high street’s recovery may be a long one as over half (56%) of consumers continue to avoid the shops. Three in 10 (31%) Brits admit to delaying shopping because they are afraid of getting or spreading coronavirus, while 18% say they are put off by crowds. New social distancing rules are providing some reassurance, with nearly a fifth (18%) more likely to return to shops because of these precautions.

Esme Harwood, director at Barclaycard, said: “While shoppers remain understandably cautious, slowly but surely Brits are starting to spend again. Some retailers have seen really positive increases, particularly home improvement, DIY and sports and outdoor outlets, where spend has reached higher levels than before the onset of coronavirus, when spending at these stores was in decline. The recent VAT cut and meal vouchers are also a positive sign for the hospitality industry and it will be interesting to see how these measures impact consumer spending.

“It also seems shoppers are generally reassured by retailer efforts to take precautions and make their stores safer. As lockdown eases and Brits are encouraged to enjoy summer safely, it’s clear that people are making the most of a sense of normality again, with many of us travelling to see friends and family, eating al-fresco, and taking day trips.”

The Barclaycard report combines hundreds of millions of customer transactions with consumer research to provide an in-depth view of UK spending.

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