Restaurant spending declines in August

By Finn Scott-Delany

- Last updated on GMT

Restaurant spending declines in August according to the latest figures from Barclaycard

Related tags Barclaycard Consumer spending Restaurant Cost of living Inflation

Restaurants saw a further decline in spending in August (-5.8%) from July (-2.5%), according to the latest figures from Barclaycard.

Over half (52%) of Brits are reining in discretionary spending due to rising household bills, with eating out at restaurants (61%) and ordering takeaways (58%) the nonessentials most de-prioritised.

This comes as takeaways and fast-food recorded a smaller uplift (6.4%) compared to July (9.2%), while the rainy weather in the first half of August also led to fewer Brits visiting the high-street.

Total consumer card spending grew 2.8% year-on-year in August – lower than the latest CPIH* inflation rate of 6.4% and July’s growth figure of 4% – as rainy weather cast a cloud on the high street.

However, entertainment provided a boost, prompted by a surge in cinema ticket sales for Barbie​ and Oppenheimer​.

While the wetter weather, combined with the slowing rate of inflation, meant spending on non-essential items saw less growth (3.7%) than July (5.6%), there were some bright spots across the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

Entertainment continued to perform well (12%), driven by a 101% surge in cinema spending as Brits booked tickets to watch this summer’s big blockbusters.

A fifth (19%) of Brits say that, despite the rising cost-of-living, spending on experiences is still a priority, with holidays abroad (44%) and hotel stays (22%) cited as the top purchases among this group.

To ensure they can afford to spend on memorable moments, 27% of these consumers are cutting back on takeaways and fast-food, while a fifth (19%) are reducing costs associated with socialising.

Over half (52%) of Brits have noticed that some of the food and drink products they buy have been downgraded in terms of quality or the quantity of premium ingredients, known as 'skimpflation'.

A fifth feel takeaways (22%) and restaurant meals (20%) are decreasing in quality without a corresponding fall in price.

Esme Harwood, director at Barclays, said: “The rainy weather impacted high street and hospitality venues in August, but Brits were still keen to spend on memorable summer experiences. The huge Box Office success of Barbie​ and Oppenheimer​ meant entertainment enjoyed another strong month, while holidays abroad boosted international travel and pharmacy, health and beauty stores.

“Shrinkflation – and now 'skimpflation' – are increasing concerns for value-seeking shoppers. However, Brits’ confidence in their household finances is unwavering, suggesting they remain resilient in the face of these inflationary pressures.”

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