Hope for the high street as UK consumer confidence improves

Julian Harris
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BRITISH consumers have started the year feeling less pessimistic about the country’s economic prospects, a widely-regarded survey revealed this morning.

Research company GfK’s first consumer confidence barometer of 2013 found that expectations for the general economic situation over the coming year jumped by six index points.

While still slumped in negative territory, this sub-index climbed from minus 31 at the end of last year, to minus 25 this month.

With a brighter outlook, people may be more prepared to splash more cash on coveted consumer goods, the survey added.

The firm’s climate for major purchases sub-index rose from a reading of minus 27 to minus 22.

Yet GfK’s Nick Moon warned: “It’s worth noting however that people’s views of their own financial situation aren’t as optimistic, with no improvement expected in the next 12 months.”

The sub-index measuring respondents’ personal finances over the past 12 months slipped from minus 22 to minus 24 – two points lower than at the same time last year.

Overall the index was positive, nonetheless. GfK’s headline figure – a leading measure of consumer confidence – rose to minus 26 in January, up from minus 29 the previous month.