Britain staycations help travel spending, revenues in post-lockdown era

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UK consumer spending warmed up along with the weather in July as people bought more takeaway food and visited local shops.

“Staycationing” Britons boosted sales at newly reopened pubs and restaurants, according to a report by Barclays published Tuesday. That helped overall spending compared with a year earlier decline the least since March, when lockdown measures were first put in place to control coronavirus.

While the figures confirm the economy is rebounding from the worst crash in centuries, the fear of infection as well as mounting uncertainty over job security is keeping a lid on households’ willingness to spend.

ALSO READ: Belgians holiday in trees as Covid-19 prompts staycations

Staycations, or vacationing close to home, have been a theme of this summer. Although this has increased sales for the hospitality industry, overall travel spending remained 60% lower than last year, Barclays said.

Spending may be further boosted this month by the government’s Eat Out to Help Out program which picks up part of the tab on meals. A third of people plan on splashing out more in restaurants and pubs, the report said.

Essential items are still showing the strongest sales, led by supermarket goods. Furniture stores reported 46.4% year-on-year growth.

ALSO READ: Singapore finds staycations can’t fill $20 billion tourism gap

Retail sales increased 4.3% in July on a like-for-like basis from last year, according to a separate report by the British Retail Consortium and KPMG.

Although the summer so far has warmed up well for the British retailers, uncertain times lie ahead.

“With the furlough scheme unwinding and wider economic uncertainty set for the autumn, consumer anxiety will likely rise along with it,” wrote Paul Martin, the U.K. head of retail for KPMG. “This will place more scrutiny on disposable income and make life even tougher for retailers.”

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

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