October 20, 2011 / 11:09 PM / 8 years ago

Consumer morale falls for fourth month in September

Pedestrians walk past a closing down sale sign in the window of a shop on Oxford Street in London August 25, 2011. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

LONDON (Reuters) - British consumer confidence fell for a fourth consecutive month in September on a broad-based drop in morale and was near to February’s record low, a monthly survey by mortgage lender Nationwide showed on Friday.

Nationwide’s consumer confidence index dropped to 45 last month from 48 in August, 10 points lower than the same time last year and the weakest reading since April. The index hit a record low of 41 in February.

“These relatively downbeat findings are understandable given the challenging economic backdrop. The economy has hardly grown in 2011 and pressure has continued to mount on household budgets,” said Nationwide’s chief economist, Robert Gardner.

The ‘present situation’ index fell to 21 from 23; the ‘expectations’ component dropped to 62 from 65; and the spending index, which measures shoppers’ willingness to make big purchases, dipped to 77 from 79.

The figures suggest that the surprise increase in British retail sales for September reported by the Office for National Statistics on Thursday is likely to prove short-lived. [

The Bank of England predicts that economic growth, which has been very sluggish over the past 12 months, will grind to a halt in the final three months of the year, due to a slump in business confidence and export demand linked to the euro zone debt crisis.

Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Susan Fenton

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