Festival goers give boost to consumer spending

Sebastian McCarthy
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Festival Goers Enjoy Glastonbury 2017
Tickets for this year's Glastonbury sold out half an hour after being put on sale (Source: Getty)

Music lovers snapping up tickets to Glastonbury Festival helped drive consumer spending during October, compensating for a continued slump in activity on Britain’s high streets.

Industry data out today shows that consumer spending hit 4.4 per cent annual growth last month, marking a modest rise from September when purchasing hit a five-month low of 3.9 per cent.

While activity has not clawed back to the bumper levels it hit during the prolonged summer period of hot weather, a flurry of box office events and festivals has helped bolster growth, with annual ticket sales rising more than 22 per cent last month.

Along with demand for popular music festivals such as Glastonbury, blockbuster hits such as Venom and A Star is Born was behind the sharp rise in tickets being sold.

Strong spending increases in pubs (10.8 per cent) and restaurants (11.7 per cent) also helped fuel the growth, according to the new figures from Barclaycard.

Meanwhile, fresh evidence of the woes facing high street giants emerged in the figures, with spending in department stores dropping by 5.9 per cent.

Clothing spending also declined by 2.4 per cent, marking the biggest dip since October 2017.

Esme Harwood, director at Barclaycard, said: “While the retail sector has continued to face challenges, the experience economy provided a welcome boost to overall spending in October with consumers going for meals out and purchasing tickets to events and shows.”

However, Harwood added: “Ongoing economic and political uncertainty has led to a decline in confidence, with consumers remaining cautious with their spend in the run-up to Christmas.”