Spending at pubs and bars saw a 9% year-on-year rise in September, the first increase since February, according to the latest data from Barclaycard.

Consumers say they felt less cautious visiting their local now (44%) compared to August (50%).

Restaurant spending declined 18.7% year-on-year in September, but it was an improvement on the 39.1% decrease seen in the previous month, suggesting consumers continue to take advantage of extended discounts following the Eat Out to Help Out.

Spending on takeaways and fast food saw a record increase of 25.8%, as eating at home remained a popular option.

The nation is also the most optimistic it has felt about the UK economy since March (24%), up from 19% in August, while confidence in household finances remains high at 70%.

However a third (34%) expect coronavirus or other economic changes to have a direct impact on their income over the next 12 months.

There was a 15.4% rise in supermarket expenditure, as around a quarter of consumers admit to stockpiling items such as tinned food and toilet roll in case of shortages in the near future.

High street retail spending (face to face) was down just 1.9%, an notable improvement on August (-6.7%).

Raheel Ahmed, head of consumer products, said: “Consumers clearly made the most of the sunshine by socialising in September, with spending at pubs and bars seeing the first increase since before the national lockdown was introduced in March. There were also signs that many Brits squeezed in a last-minute summer holiday in the UK, as spending on accommodation stayed at similar levels seen in August.

“However, we also saw households preparing to spend more time inside as winter draws closer, with home improvement increasing as a result. While the nation’s confidence in the UK economy has improved slightly, many are still cautious about the upcoming winter months, and the subsequent uncertainty it may bring has caused some to start stockpiling once more.”

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