Spending on the UK high street knocked by January snowstorm

Julian Harris
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BRITAIN’S ailing high street has been dealt another blow by the cold snap of weather felt in recent weeks, data from Visa revealed yesterday.

Spending through Visa dipped by more than four per cent in the last week, compared to the same time a year ago, the company reported.

Deterred from hitting the shops, some consumers chose instead to boost their online purchases – but this failed to offset their absence on the high street.

While high street spending was down by five per cent on a year-ago basis, online spending increased by only one per cent, according to Visa.

The squeeze on the UK high street has been evident this year, with Jessops, HMV and Blockbuster all tumbling into administration. “With tomorrow’s quarter four figure [for 2012] expected to show a contraction in GDP, Visa’s data highlights the real danger of a triple dip recession if quarter one 2013 does not improve,” the firm said.

Heavy snowfall has previously contributed to quarters of official economic contraction. Yet retail started the year reasonably well, Visa added – spending on its cards was unchanged in the first week and up slightly in the second week of 2013.