Valentine's Day dinners and half-term holidays boosted UK spending last month, according to a new report out today.
Visa's consumer spending index - which looks at total spending, not just payments via credit cards – showed a household spending lift of 2.2 per cent in February compared with the same month last year.
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Kevin Jenkins, UK and Ireland managing director at Visa Europe, suggested the hospitality and leisure sectors were boosted in the month by dinners and romantic breaks on Valentine's Day, as well as family trips during half-term.
He added: “Valentine’s Day falling on a Sunday this year also saw people spend more on food and drinks for a cosy night in, with the sector reporting the best performance since January 2015.”
Visa reported a 13.6 per cent year-on-year increase in spending on hotels, restaurants and bars.
Spending on recreation and culture, meanwhile, increased by 9.7 per cent on last year's figure.
And Visa said expenditure on food and drink retailers reached a 13-month high in February, up 4.8 per cent on February 2015.
The figures also showed a 6.3 per cent increase in spending through e-commerce channels, and a 2.8 per cent increase in face-to-face.
Jenkins said: “February is always a key bounce-back month for retailers and 2016 has been no exception. Solid spending growth by consumers, especially on life’s luxuries, was responsible for a 2.2 per cent annual growth figure.
“Face-to-face and online spending both grew, though the latter was stronger, suggesting retailers continue to forge ahead in this sphere.”