Retailers have received a double blow to early April spending from the usual post-Easter slowdown and from the unseasonably cold weather, according to spending data from Barclaycard. Combined, it found these created a 4.8% decrease in overall spending compared to early April last year.
Despite the overall fall, online spending continued to perform well as it increased by 10.5% compared to 2012.
Food and drink sales were particularly hard hit during the first week of April, with spend down 21% compared to the same week last year, said researchers. Retailers also continued to experience lower consumer spending than normal at this time of year, with spend on clothing down 17.6% and department store spend down 17.1% as shoppers failed to start buying spring and summer clothes.
Some sectors of the economy did receive a boost though, with travel and hotel providers seeing spending increase by 4.1% and 7.5% respectively. The entertainment sector also received a boost from the school holidays, with spend up 15.5% on the same week last year, reported Barclaycard.
Dave Chan, chief executive of Barclaycard Consumer Europe, said: “Consumer spending has taken a double hit from the unusually cold weather at the start of April and the post-Easter slowdown. However, one bright spot is that online retailers have benefitted from the weather as shoppers have gone online to avoid the cold.
“Having finally experienced our first weekend of warmer weather, we would expect to see sales at clothing and department stores rise over the next few weeks, as people venture outside and turn their attention to updating their spring and summer wardrobes.”