One in three consumers are ‘looking to support the hospitality industry where they can,’ according to the latest Barclaycard report.

While overall spend on going out to eat and drink in July was still much lower than the same period last year – in restaurants it was down 64.2% and in pubs and bars it was down 43% - it increased significantly with the reopening of dine-in, rising from -86% and -93% respectively in June.

One in three consumers are looking to support, and return to, the sector, with 36% now dining in restaurants, 28% going out for drinks, and 34% intending on taking advantage of the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

Takeaway and fast food sales also continued to climb last month, up 20.4% from its June figures.

Encouragingly for the to-go sector, 37% of consumers said they are now ‘unconcerned’ about returning to shops.

Surprisingly, people aged over 55 were the most likely to say they aren’t concerned about visiting a retail environment, and of the consumers comfortable returning, 46% said they were reassured by the mandatory facemask rule, and 45% by the presence of antibacterial hand gel.

People are also feeling more secure about their personal finances, with confidence in household finances (at 72%) and ability to spend on non-essential items (at 58%) returning to levels not seen in the UK since January 2020.

Despite this, trust in the UK economy remains low at just 23%, whilst job security is at 43%.

“Consumer spending has warmed up alongside the weather, as Brits return to the shops for non-essential items,” said Esme Harwood, director at Barclaycard. “It’s a welcome development for retailers to see spending up across many sectors in the first full month of data since lockdown restrictions started to ease.

“However, a sense of cautiousness still prevails. While some consumers feel more comfortable returning to shops, others are still wary of taking public transport and travelling outside the UK, with fears and uncertainties lingering about returning to normality too quickly.”

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