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UK consumer spending growth hits 8-month high in January
February 8, 2016 / 7:17 AM / 2 years ago

UK consumer spending growth hits 8-month high in January

Crowds of shoppers looking for bargains in the sales walk through the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, London December 27, 2015. REUTERS/Russell Boyce

LONDON (Reuters) - British consumer spending grew at its fastest rate in 8 months in January, helped by a rebound in clothing and footwear sales, figures from payment card company Visa Europe showed on Monday.

Seasonally adjusted consumer spending rose by 2.7 percent year-on-year, the fastest rate since May 2015 and up from 2.2 percent in December, according to the monthly survey.

“It’s a feel-good start to the year for retailers and consumers, despite the global economic jitters,” Visa Europe’s managing director for the United Kingdom, Kevin Jenkins, said.

Last week the Bank of England cut its growth forecasts for 2016 and 2017, blaming a weaker world economy, but said domestic demand should remain strong, bolstered by cheaper oil prices and a modest pick-up in wage growth.

Official retail data disappointed economists’ expectations in December, after mild weather dented winter clothing sales, though the final three months of 2015 as a whole were the strongest calendar quarter in a year.

Visa said colder weather in January boosted clothing sales.

The figures, compiled by data company Markit, cover spending on travel, entertainment and going out as well as retail sales. They are based on Visa debit and credit card transactions, adjusted for inflation and changes in Visa’s market share.

Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa

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