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Bond Boosts Film Spending As Consumer Demand Boosts Retail Recovery | Retail business| Top stories

Bond Boosts Film Spending As Consumer Demand Boosts Retail Recovery | Retail business

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Consumers starting their Christmas shopping earlier than usual amid concerns over supply chain shortages and rising prices helped boost UK retail sales last month, according to industry figures.

The British Retail Consortium said total sales rose 1.3% in October from the same month a year ago and 6.3% from the same month in 2019, before Covid-19 did. toss the UK into the worst recession in 300 years.

In September, the Office for National Statistics recorded its fifth month of contraction in sales volumes, the longest drop to hit the industry since 1996.

Faced with shelf voids and long delivery times amid the worst supply chain disruption since the 1970s, consumers rushed to buy toys and gifts to avoid disruption at the store. the holiday season is approaching. The retail rally comes amid increasing pressure on household budgets as soaring energy bills push up inflation and eat away at families’ purchasing power.

Clothing and footwear sales performed well, according to the BRC, with Halloween helping to boost sales of children’s costumes and chocolates. However, the disruption of the global supply chain continued to hamper sales of furniture and electrical items. Food stores also recorded weak growth, with spending affected by the gradual return of consumers to pubs and restaurants after the hospitality sector reopened.

Separate figures from Barclaycard showed overall credit card spending rose 14.2% in October from a year earlier, with particularly strong growth in spending on travel, digital entertainment and subscription services.

According to a survey of 2,000 consumers for the credit card provider, more than a third said they were so concerned about shelf shortages that they adjusted their spending habits this year. More than half of this group said they advanced their spending, including on toys and gifts for children.

Colder weather led to a 127% increase in take-out spending online over the previous year, according to Barclaycard, while the release of new series and sets such as Squid Game and Succession fueled the growth in demand. of online streaming services.

Spending on movie tickets increased on an annual basis in October for the first time since the start of the pandemic, with sales aided by the release of the new James Bond film, No Time to Die.

Spending on flights and vacations abroad has also increased the most since the start of the pandemic, as travel agents and airlines have benefited from the surge in sales after the government slashed the number of countries. on the “red list” of Covid destinations.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said demand was “getting back on track” ahead of the pivotal Christmas shopping season, with retailers benefiting from social calendars filling up again after pandemic restrictions were eased.

Dickinson said retailers will do everything possible to provide choice and availability throughout the Christmas season, prioritizing food and party items needed to celebrate. “However, there are challenges ahead, with higher prices on the horizon, compounded by the many rising costs consumers face, such as higher energy bills and rising national insurance.”

It comes after an analysis by YouGov and the Center for Economics and Business Research showed consumer confidence fell to its lowest level since March, amid a deteriorating outlook as the government cuts benefits and increases. taxes and that inflation is expected to increase inflation this winter.

The YouGov / CEBR Household Finances Index, which is compiled from a survey of more than 6,000 people on the outlook for their finances over the next 12 months, fell 9.7 points to 81, 1 in October, compared to the previous month. A score of 100 is neutral; anything above this value indicates optimism, while lower values ​​indicate pessimism.

Paul Martin, UK retail manager at accounting firm KPMG, said while squeezing household finances has yet to translate into lower retail sales, risks to retailers remain always.

“With rising costs straining most retailers, they hope demand remains strong as consumers anticipate a bumper Christmas, buying early for these much sought-after gifts and spending more than last year, when the gatherings of Christmases have been canceled. The main concern now is how the trade will evolve after Christmas until 2022, ”he said.

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