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Bury St Edmunds: Greene King Leisure Spend Tracker reveals strong start to holiday season

06:00 24 August 2014

The popularity of beer gardens helped drive an increase in leisure spending during July's heatwave.

The popularity of beer gardens helped drive an increase in leisure spending during July's heatwave.

Clare Phillips

Pubs and brewing group Greene King has reported double-digit growth in household leisure spending as fine weather accompanied the start of the main holiday season.

According to the Bury St Edmunds-based company’s latest Greene King Leisure Spend Tracker report, the average British household spent £202 on out-of-home leisure during July, an increase of £22 or 12% compared with June.

It says the seasonal increase normally associated with the start of the school summer holidays was accentuated by the heatwave which arrived in the middle of the month and the continuing trend to towards Britons taking holidays at home rather than abroad.

The weather was a particular factor in spending on drinking out which grew by 14% to £46 and accounted for 23% of average household leisure spend, the highest share since the Leisure Spend Tracker started.

Eating Out continued to rise; with average household spend growing by 5% in July, on top of a 5% rise seen in June.

But it was spending in the Other Leisure category which led the way, rising by 18% to an average of £81 as parents strived to keep their children entertained.

Steve Jebson, Greene King’s commercial director, said: “The summer holidays are now upon us and July’s leisure spending showed that Other Leisure, which includes activities such as bowling, cinema and live events, blazed a trail as households entertained their kids.

“Family households led the growth in total leisure spending in July, with these households increasing their leisure spend by 19%, or £40, compared to June.”

He added: “We also believe that, despite the growth in the number of those planning a trip abroad this year, the demand for ‘staycations’ remains strong.”

A regional breakdown of the study shows that households in London and the South East increased their leisure spend by a similar amont to those in the rest of Great Britain.

Greene King, a member of the EADT/EDP Top100 listing of the 100 largest companies in Suffolk and Norfolk, said this indicated that the economic recovery is continuing to take hold across the country, following on from the June survey which showed stronger growth in the rest of the country that in the South East corner.

The July survey also included a special focus on Scotland, ahead of next month’s referendum on Scottish independence. This indicated that households in Scotland spend an average of 3% more onleisure each month, notably £4 more on Drinking Out and £4 more on Eating Out, with total spending on leisure accounting for a slightly higher proportion of income compared with the rest of the country.

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