Wet weather contributes to double-digit drop in restaurant spend in February

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Wet weather contributes to double-digit drop in restaurant spend in February

Related tags Barclaycard Consumer spending Hospitality Restaurant Takeaway

Restaurants saw a double-digit drop in spend last month as wet weather led to a slowdown on the high street and a rise in at-home ‘insperiences’.

According to data the Barclays’ Consumer Spending Index, spend on restaurants contracted -13.4% in February.

Growth in spending on pubs, bars and clubs, meanwhile, was at its lowest level – at 1.1 % – since September 2022.

Spending on takeaways and fast food, meanwhile, increased 5% year-on-year.

“February’s wet weather meant Brits chose to spend more time indoors, resulting in a slowdown in high-street and hospitality spending,” explains Karen Johnson, head of retail at Barclays.

“This shift in behaviour meant ‘insperiences’ enjoyed a boost, as consumers opted to enjoy cosy nights in with a TV show and a takeaway.

Overall consumer card spending grew just 1.9% year-on-year in February, significantly lower than the latest inflation rate of 4.2% and the smallest growth since September 2022, when spend rose 1.8%.

Demand for holidays, nevertheless, held up, but hotels, resorts and accommodation saw its lowest rate of growth – 0.3% – since May last year, suggesting holidaymakers are opting for escapes abroad instead of staycations.

A drop in food and fuel prices caused a slowdown in essential spending, while wet weather contributed to a 2.2% fall in high street spending excluding groceries.

The wet weather, combined with industrial action, also led spending on public transport to increase by just 3.8%.

While consumer confidence remains hampered, concerns about inflation and rising household bills softened to 84% - the most positive figures for more than two years – indicating that easing inflationary pressures are positively impacting household finances, according to Barclaycard.

“With Brits having reined in discretionary spending during the winter months, and as inflationary pressures begin to ease, retailers will be hopeful that the onset of warmer weather lifts spending – particularly if consumer confidence improves in the summer,” adds Johnson.

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