Improving outlook

Rise in consumer confidence offers Christmas cheer

Retail, Multrees Walk
Shops are hoping for a late Christmas surge (pic: Terry Murden)

A rise in consumer confidence is offering some Christmas cheer to hard-pressed retailers who are hoping for a late rush to the shops.

While remaining in negative territory, GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index increased two points, while expectations for the general economic situation over the next 12 months rose by one point.

Consumers feel particularly more confident about their personal finances as households see improvements in their ability to control their budgets. The major purchase index also rose, by one point to minus 23.

The uplift coincides with the Bank of England holding interest rates for a third successive month and a fall in inflation to 4.6% .

Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK, said: “Against the backdrop of flat-lining economic growth, interest rates at a 15-year high, and price rises potentially eroding disposable income for years to come, the Consumer Confidence Index shows a modest improvement this month with gains across all key measures.

“Although the headline figure of minus 22 means the nation’s confidence is still firmly in negative territory, optimism for our personal finances for the next 12 months shows a notable recovery from the depressed minus 29 reported this time last year.

“Despite the severe cost-of-living crisis still impacting most households, this slow but persistent movement towards positive territory for the personal finance measure looking ahead is an encouraging sign for the year to come.”

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