Consumer confidence soared to a 13-year high in March, with Britons preparing to splash their cash over the long Easter weekend.
GfK’s closely watched index rose by three points to a score of plus four in March compared with the previous month, with consumers more upbeat in all five areas used to track confidence.
The major purchase index was the biggest riser – up five points – indicating consumers were far more willing to make a major purchase than they were last year.
Consumer expectations for the general economic situation over the next year were also more positive, with this part of the index gaining three points.
“A consistently rising index in the run-up to the election is likely to be good news for the government,” GfK director Nick Moon, said.
Meanwhile, footfall across UK stores is expected to rise by 4.7 per cent over the Easter weekend in another sign of rising sentiment.
According to retail analysts Springboard, high streets will enjoy a six per cent year-on-year surge in visitor numbers from Friday to Monday, with shopping centres and retail parks set to see rises of 4.6 and 1.6 per cent respectively.
“The earlier dates for the long weekend traditionally link to positive effects for retailers and with consumer confidence high, we expect shoppers to respond with their feet buoyed by the benefit of a recent pay day,” Springboard’s Diane Wehrle said. Both sets of figures were released this morning.