High Streets Initiative ยท 3 December 2018

“Bewildering” Brexit saps Christmas cheer from UK shoppers

Brexit Christmas
The Shambles, an ancient shopping street in the city of York
Politicians squabbling over the impact of ?bewildering Brexit? has left UK shoppers lacking in Christmas cheer this year.

The GfK?s Consumer Confidence Index decreased by three points in November with concerns raised over household finances, the general economy and purchase intentions.

?Against a backdrop of the chancellor telling everyone that the Brexit deal on the table will make people worse off, this month we?re recording an across the board fall,? said Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK.

?The measure that fell the most is our Major Purchase Index, with a seven-point plunge that is unhappy news for retailers. The view on the general economy in the coming 12 months fell four points, as did the perception of the past year?s personal finances. Overall, we are now back at the -13 level we saw at the end of last year.?

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Staton added that the next few weeks in the lead up to the important Christmas shopping season are highly unlikely to inject any festive cheer, especially if Theresa May?s Brexit deal doesn?t win backing from MPs.

?The denouement to more than two years of bewildering Brexit wheeler-dealing looks like it will be enacted precisely when many consumers would prefer to be thinking of a well-earned Christmas break, filled with family get-togethers, warmth and festivity. Brexit appears to be turning this year?s ?season of goodwill? into ?the season of uncertainty?,? he said.

The survey found that confidence in personal finances during the last 12 months decreased four points in November to -3; two points lower than at the same point last year. The measure for the General Economic Situation of the country during the last 12 months dropped one point to -29. However, this is three points higher than November 2017.?The Major Purchase Index decreased seven points in November to -3; the same level as November 2017.

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