The retail industry lost further ground to the experience sector last month, as Valentine’s Day and half-term boost consumer spending.
New figures from Visa UK’s Consumer Spending Index show that average spend grew 1.5 per cent in February, up from a five-month low of 0.4 per cent in January.
Spend on recreation and culture saw the most significant boost of 3.3 per cent, compared to a rise of two just per cent on miscellaneous goods and a drop in spend on clothing, footwear, food, drink and household goods.
Visa UK’s managing director Kevin Jenkins said this demonstrated a continued growth in the experience sector.
“Valentine’s Day and the half-term break gave consumers more reasons to dine out and treat their loved ones to short getaways around the UK,” he said.
“At the same time, the level of growth in the leisure and hospitality sectors was softer than we have seen in the past year, showing signs that consumers are becoming more cautious with their discretionary spending.
“And for clothing retailers, February was yet another challenging month.”
Clothing and footwear saw the most significant decline, dropping 4.5 per cent on last year.
High street spend also continued to fall, dropping three per cent compared to a 3.2 per cent rise in online spending.
The average growth of 1.5 per cent in February was also below last year’s average of two per cent, suggesting a trend towards caution.