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Clothing sector records largest uplift since before the start of the pandemic

Tom Shearsmith
07 December 2021

Consumer card spending grew 16% in November compared to the same period in 2019, with early Christmas shopping and festive events giving a boost to retail, hospitality and leisure.

Data from Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, reveals that spending on non-essential items saw its highest growth since before the onset of the pandemic (17.7%).

The increase of spending was driven by uplifts across the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, as Brits enjoyed the start of the festive season, with in-store retail spend (6.7%) seeing a moderate increase on October (6.4%).

The clothing and accessories sector recorded its largest uplift (11.0%) since before the start of the pandemic as shoppers stocked up on winter items.

With Christmas on the horizon, almost four in 10 (37%) consumers who celebrate it say they are buying gifts earlier than normal this year. Categories that benefited from early purchasing include sports and outdoor retailers (28.8%), as well as pharmacy, health and beauty (16.5%).

Jose Carvalho, Head of Consumer Products at Barclaycard, said: “The arrival of Christmas markets and lights across the UK brought some festive cheer to the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors in November, while the return of darker nights and colder evenings saw Brits spend more on at-home pursuits such as takeaways and home entertainment.

“As we head into final preparations for the holiday season, it’s unclear how the new COVID variant and potential further restrictions will impact socialising, shopping and consumer confidence. In light of recent changes, we will need to wait and see whether this has an impact on how Brits choose to finish their Christmas shopping this year.”

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