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Economy: Greene King Leisure Spend Tracker reveals dip in consumer confidence

13:06 23 October 2014

Spending on eating out has continued to rise, desite a fall in spend on other categories of leisure, according to a survey carried out for Greene King

Spending on eating out has continued to rise, desite a fall in spend on other categories of leisure, according to a survey carried out for Greene King

Archant

Average spending on leisure by British households fell by 6% last month compared with a year earlier, according to the latest Greene King Leisure Spend Tracker report.

The average household spent £207 on all categories of leisure during September, a decrease of £13 compared with the same month last year.

The decline was most pronounced in London and the South East where the figure fell by £27, or 10%, compared with an average decrease elsewhere of £7, or 4%.

Eating Out was the only category to see year-on-year growth, with the average household

increasing spend by £5, or 7%.

Spending on Drinking Out fell by £3, or 6%, compared with September last year and speding on Other Leisure, which includes activities such as bowling, cinema-going and live events was £16, or 18%, lower.

Greene King, a member of the EADT/EDP Top100 listing of the 100 biggest companies in Suffolk and Norfolk, said the overall fall in leisure spending appeared to be a reflection of a dip in consumer confidence, with increases in living costs in London, combined with weak earnings growth, adding to the trend in the capital.

September’s fine weather had probably contributed both to the increase in Eating Out spend and the decline in the Other Leisure category, with the extended summer encouraging people to spend more time outside.

Steve Jebson, Greene King’s commercial director, said: “We have seen leisure spending dip in September compared to the same month last year, as most people are still not feeling better off as their costs continue to rise faster than their incomes, despite improvements in the economy.

“With the run up to Christmas, it will be interesting to see if consumers act more prudently next month.”

On the increase in Eating Out, Mr Jebson added: “Even though households are still finding it tough, it is interesting to see the continued increase in spend on Eating Out, indicating it is becoming a more common activity and less of an occasional treat.

“We have also seen households allocate 5% more of their total leisure spend to Eating Out compared to this time last year, further highlighting its growing importance.”

Paul Flatters, chief executive of Trajectory, which compilies the monthly report for Greene King, added: “This month’s figures provide important insight into both short and long term consumer trends. We see further evidence of the post-summer slow-down in spending experienced in other sectors. Retail sales have just recorded their biggest year-on-year drop in almost six years, for example.

“The growth spurt enjoyed in the UK since the Spring of 2013 is, for the moment at least, fizzling out. And yet, despite consumer spending volatility elsewhere, the long term march in favour of eating out continues, suggesting fundamental, non-economic drivers underpin this trend.”

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