Confident Brits return to shops to splash cash

 
Tim Wallace
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CONFIDENT shoppers are returning to the high street in their droves – with spending rising faster in shops than online, according to figures out today from Visa Europe.

Upbeat Britons surged back into restaurants and bars after Christmas, spending more in person.

But clothing sales fell, and overall online spending dipped a touch on the year.

Total spending in January was up 1.3 per cent on the year, outstripping inflation which ran at 0.5 per cent in the year to December.

Spending in hotels, restaurants and bars rocketed 9.7 per cent, while food, beverages and tobacco spending increased 4.9 per cent.

Household goods spending also rose by 1.3 per cent.

By contrast spending on clothing and footwear dipped 3.3 per cent, and spending on transport and communication dropped 2.4 per cent.

Those shifts in shopping patterns pushed face-to-face sales up 1.3 per cent, but online shopping down 0.2 per cent on the year.

“With reduced energy and fuel bills set to provide a fillip to consumers’ disposable income in the coming months, there seems little reason to suggest that the recent positive trend won’t be maintained in the short-term at least,” said Markit economist Paul Smith.