Mark Antipof, Chief Commercial Officer at Visa, commented:
“Britons have been in belt-tightening mode since last summer. February’s cold snap certainly didn’t alleviate this situation, particularly when we shine a spotlight on high street spending, and recreation and culture in particular, which saw its biggest decline since April 2010.
“On the other hand, hotels, restaurants and bars experienced another strong month. The resilience of this sector is somewhat unique, having reported uninterrupted growth since February 2011.
“As we look ahead into March, consumer spending is at risk of posting one of the worst Q1 results on record. Retailers will no doubt be hoping that the milder weather will put a spring in shoppers’ steps.”
Annabel Fiddes, Principal Economist at IHS Markit, said:
“The latest Visa UK CSI data pointed to a further modest reduction in consumer spending in February, with expenditure down -1.1% compared to a year ago. The High Street remained a key source of weakness, seeing spend fall for the tenth month in a row, while growth in eCommerce spending continued to disappoint.
“Rising living costs, lacklustre wage growth and relatively subdued consumer confidence are all likely playing a part in the ongoing reduction in household spending. Unless the squeeze on incomes subsides, it looks unlikely that household spending will pick up anytime soon.”