U.K. Consumer Gloom May Darken Christmas for Retailers

Pre-Christmas cheer among U.K. households was subdued this month as confidence in their personal finances fell amid further Covid restrictions.

An overall consumer sentiment index dropped by two points from October, close to levels last seen in the early months of the pandemic, according to a survey by GfK. Britons’ view of their own finances tumbled and the major purchase index, a closely watched indicator on households’ willingness to spend on larger items such as furniture, also dipped.

U.K. Consumer Gloom May Darken Christmas for Retailers

It is another worrying sign for retailers looking forward to the Christmas season, usually their busiest time of the year. Businesses have been hoping festive sales could help salvage a year that has already seen activity wrecked by a series of national lockdowns and restrictions.

“This will deal a blow to any future rebound because bullish consumer spending fuels the U.K. economy and low confidence is the enemy of recovery,” said Joe Staton, a director at GfK. “The second lockdown couldn’t have come at a worse time for the U.K.’s high-street retailers.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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