Winter turnaround for consumer morale, reports Nationwide poll

CONSUMER confidence picked up in December, Nationwide said today.

Despite recent falls in Nationwide’s index, data for last month revealed an uptick, driven by more optimistic expectations for this year.

“At 73 points, the expectations measure reached its highest level for three months, and perhaps provides some hope that the recovery will gain momentum in 2011,” said Robert Gardner, head Nationwide economist.

Attitudes to spending also increased, although some retailers saw December sales damaged by the extreme weather conditions.

The index has some way to go to return to pre-recession levels, Gardner warned.

“While the uptick is encouraging, household confidence nevertheless remains subdued,” he said.

The headline confidence measure jumped eight points to 53 in December, yet remains below the long-term average index rating of 81.