Morale among UK consumers starts to mend

CONSUMER confidence on the UK high street picked up in March, following an all time low the previous month, a widely regarded Nationwide survey revealed today.

The index picked up five points to a score of 44, still considerably below the same point last year, when the index recorded 73 points.

“While this is a welcome change in direction, we must remember that the index remains at a historically low level,” said Nationwide economist Robert Gardner.

“The uptick in March failed to reverse the fall suffered in the previous month,” Gardner added.

The index of consumer morale has a long term average of 80 points.

A slight upturn in respondents’ economic outlooks was credited with the improvement in the index score for March, with 60 per cent believing economic conditions will be the same or better in six months’ time.

Spending sentiment also sprung back from February’s all-time low, with a considerable 13 point increase in the spending index.

However, the uptick still failed to fully offset the drop in spending confidence seen in February, Nationwide said.