Olympics and Royal Wedding prompt a surprise spike in consumer spending

Julian Harris
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CONSUMER spending rose strongly in the second quarter of the year according to data released by Visa yesterday, yet one-off factors such as demand for Olympic Games tickets may have distorted the figures.

Shoppers splashed 4.4 per cent more than a year earlier, and 3.1 per cent more than in the first three months of this year. However, without two volatile factors – Olympic tickets and May’s spending on National Savings certificates – spending was up just 1.5 per cent on last year.

The Royal Wedding, other bank holidays and notably sunny weather in April also boosted spending after a sluggish first quarter, the report from Visa said.

Yet in June, with volatile factors largely absent, spending also rose sharply – up by 4.3 per cent.

“June’s figures suggest a more positive story for the high street as consumers seem to have returned to their more ‘usual’ spending habits,” it said.

However, less bullish consumer news came from the Society of Motor Manufacturers yesterday, which reported a 6.2 per cent annualised drop in new car registrations for June.