LONDON (Reuters) — British consumer spending grew at the fastest rate in four years in the second quarter as soccer fans bought more food and drinks in supermarkets and pubs after the World Cup kicked off in June, a report from Visa Europe showed.
The Visa Europe UK Expenditure Index, which takes card spending data, showed that consumer spending increased for the ninth consecutive month in June, up 0.4 percent from May and 0.6 percent compared to June 2013.
Although the year-on-year rise in June was slightly slower than May’s 1 percent, it came off a strong base the year before: In June 2013, spending rose 2 percent to mark the fastest growth since October 2010.
Overall, the data means spending grew in the second quarter at the fastest year-on-year rate since mid-2010.
“Visa Europe’s UK Expenditure Index dovetails nicely with other data we have to signal the ongoing expansion of the UK economy in the second quarter of the year,” said Paul Smith, senior economist at Markit, which compiles the report on behalf of Visa Europe.
“With the high street showing continuing signs of underlying improvement, the latest numbers further add to views that monetary policy tightening by the BoE is now firmly on the horizon.”
All key retail sectors recorded an increase in June.
Bars, pubs and restaurant however, enjoyed particularly strong growth thanks to the World Cup and warmer weather, according to the report. Football fans also boosted their spending on sports clothing and food and drinks in supermarkets as they prepared to watch the games.
Face-to-face spending volumes and online spending rose by 1.1 percent and 2.6 percent in June from a year before, while spending via mail or telephone was down 2.2 percent.