Clothing spend in the UK increased 11% last month

Clothing spend in the UK increased 11% last month

UK consumer spending on clothing increased in January, marking the first time in two years that the category has seen double-digit growth. 

New figures from Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of all the UK's debit and credit card transactions, showed clothing spend increased 11% last month. This was driven by a 15% increase on family clothing, which contributes around two-thirds of total clothing sales. Women's clothing spend was up 11.3%. 

January sales and on-going retailer discounting saw department store spend grow 9%, reversing last year's trend of month-after-month declines.

Overall spending was up 4.2% during the month, compared to the same period last year. This was, however, flattened by a four-day period when heavy snow artificially depressed comparative levels last year.

Excluding these four days, spend was up by just 2.2% as consumers remained cautious about the economy.

"The economic outlook for 2014 remains murky and mixed," said Barclaycard CEO Val Soranno Keating. "Despite recent positive economic news, real wage growth has fallen by just over 2% for each of the past three years.

"If the economic recovery is to continue we need to see improved consumer and business confidence flow through to actual wage increases. And we need to see strong month-on-month spend growth versus a healthy prior year comparator. February may provide that opportunity."