U.K. Shortages Drive a Jump in Spending on Fuel and Essentials
(Bloomberg) -- U.K. consumers increased spending on fuel at the fastest pace in two years during a supply crisis last month while also stocking up on essential goods at a rapid rate because of growing concerns about empty shelves.
The findings from Barclaycard, which clear almost half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, show consumers grew more nervous about their ability to buy essential items. Almost half of adults are reporting gaps at supermarkets and grocery stores, the report found. As a result, spending on essential items increased 14.4% -- quickest uplift in more than two years. Spending on fuel jumped 11.1%.
Meanwhile, the British Retail Consortium warned that consumers grew more reluctant to splash out of larger purchases in September and said disruption to supply chains could dent economic growth during the crucial Christmas period.
U.K sales grew just 0.6% on a total basis last month, the worst performance since the depths of the winter lockdown in January, the BRC said. The report is the latest to point to the struggles faced by U.K. shops, with official data showing sales fell for four straight months through August and consumer confidence plunged in September.
“Without swift action, customers face disruption and frustration this Christmas,” said the BRC’s chief executive Helen Dickinson. “An uncertain backdrop and slower growth means the fourth quarter looks challenging as the economic recovery is dependent on strong retail sales during the festive season.”
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