LONDON (Reuters) - Consumer confidence edged higher this month from January’s 22-month low after a slight recovery in shoppers’ personal financial situation and willingness to make big purchases, a survey showed on Friday.
The GfK NOP consumer confidence index rose to -28 from January’s -29, but is well below the level of -14 this time last year as shoppers face rising prices and sluggish wage growth, while public-sector spending cuts put jobs at risk.
“While the government will be relieved that consumer confidence has levelled out, such a small increase indicates that last month’s astonishing figures were not an aberration,” said Nick Moon, managing director of GfK NOP Social Research.
On Thursday the CBI business lobby reported a widening gap in morale between firms reliant on consumer spending and those that benefit from business investment, and its retail sales index fell to an 8-month low.
“With the government’s strategy based heavily on economic growth providing private-sector jobs to replace the ones being cut, they will have to hope that consumer confidence is a less good predictor of the economy than previously,” Moon said.
GfK NOP polled 2,000 Britons between February 4 and February 13 in the survey, which was carried out on behalf of the European Commission.