December 8, 2014 / 12:04 AM / 5 years ago

UK consumer spending rises as 'Black Friday' crosses Atlantic - Visa

LONDON (Reuters) - British consumer spending grew strongly in November after many big retailers adopted U.S.-style “Black Friday” promotions, payments company Visa Europe said on Monday, suggesting spending for 2014 as a whole may rise at its fastest rate since 2010.

Shoppers wrestle over a television as they compete to purchase retail items on "Black Friday" at an Asda superstore in Wembley, north London November 28, 2014. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Echoing other data which have pointed to the robustness of Britain’s economic recovery, Visa’s UK expenditure index showed household spending rose at its fastest annual rate since August, up 2.0 percent after inflation versus 1.4 percent in October.

Spending rose by 1.6 percent month-on-month in November, picking up from October’s 0.5 percent monthly growth rate.

Last week the Bank of England said consumers increased borrowing at the most rapid pace since 2006 in October, while earlier official data showed household spending in the three months to September rising at its fastest in four years.

“With Christmas just around the corner, consumer appetite remains positive, suggesting overall spending (growth) this year looks set to reach levels not seen since 2010,” said Kevin Jenkins, a senior Visa Europe executive.

Results for the high street, where spending grew at the second-fastest annual rate since July 2010, were especially impressive, with shops benefiting from Black Friday sales which kick-started trading in the Christmas period.

This year several British retailers fully embraced the U.S.-born shopping frenzy for the first time, leading to surging crowds, fights and record sales for some, such as Britain’s largest department store group John Lewis.

By contrast, online spending last month was lower than a year earlier, though the decline was less than in October.

The fastest spending growth was seen in hotels, restaurants and bars, where sales are more than 10 percent higher than a year ago, while the biggest falls came at businesses such as hairdressers and jewellers.

The Visa data is based on credit and debit card transactions that account for around a third of all spending in Britain. The figures are adjusted for inflation and to be representative for all consumer spending, not just that made by card.

Reporting by Liisa Tuhkanen; editing by Susan Thomas

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