Increase in consumer spending in September is driven by leisure and entertainment activities, Visa reports

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Consumer spending continues to rise at a steady rate of +1.8% year-on-year with the Recreation & Culture and Clothing & Footwear sectors among the best performers, according to Visa’s Expenditure Index  for September.

The Index, which reflects overall consumer spending, not just that on cards, found strong growth for e-commerce of +5.8% year-on-year, though high street spending remains flat.

 Kevin Jenkins, UK & Ireland managing director Visa Europe said: “Consumers maximised the last of the summer and the camaraderie of the major sporting events in September, with spend at pubs and on entertainment roaring ahead. September was in fact the best month for the entertainment sector in terms of sales growth since last August.

“Clothing retailers were also winners in September. Poor weather in the second half of the month encouraged consumers to ready themselves for the beginning of autumn while also buying last minute school uniforms for the new term. Online retailers profited in particular as consumers capitalised on home deliveries. The high street will be looking for signs of an autumn fillip though after a flat September. With Christmas only 74 days away, any further sign of consumer confidence will be a welcome boost.”

What UK businesses are saying:

Visa is tracking the sentiment of several small businesses across the UK on a monthly basis, asking about their views on the economy, business conditions and forecasts for the month ahead.

Tony Bailey, Top Notch Hair & Beauty, Manchester: Though the number of visits in September was the same as last year, our turnover increased by 2.1% as consumers treated themselves to more lavish beauty and grooming products. In previous months people were more frugal whilst saving towards holidays abroad, but now that they’re back they don’t mind spending a bit more than usual on pampering themselves. The high street is also bustling with locals again, which led to more spend in the area.”

Quan Nguyen, Chi Café, London: “Our revenue saw a bit of a bounce back in September, as people retuned to work following the summer holiday. The new autumn menu we introduced at the beginning of the month also helped attract more customers and boost sales.”

Pauline Cusack, Glen Guest House, Birmingham: “September was a great month for us. Our guesthouse was busier and new bookings kept pouring in. Along with our regular corporate guests, we were also hosting sporting fans from as far as South Africa and Australia, who came to town to cheer their teams on. Other local establishments also made the most of the additional business with seasonal offers.”