Spend on clothing fell 3% in December, marking the third month of decline, data collected by Barclaycard has shown. Department store expenditure was down 6.3%.
“Spending in this sector remained subdued as shoppers cut back on clothing and balanced out their budgets when it came to Christmas time,” Barclaycard said.
Overall, consumer spending grew at the slowest rate since March 2016 in December – up 1.8% on the same month in 2017 – as people spent less on essential items.
Barclaycard said the caution looked set to continue, as half of UK adults believe there will be a decline in the state of the economy in 2019.
Half of consumers surveyed (49%) expect to cut back in January to cover the cost of Christmas, while 48% say they feel less confident about their personal finances in the coming year than they have done for many years.
However, Barclaycard also found that half (52%) of British consumers say they want to support their local high street, while 38% said they are deliberately choosing the high street over online-only retailers, ”suggesting consumers want the high street to remain an important part of their local community”.