New figures show
Overall spending fell at quickest rate since September 2013 (-2.0 per cent year on year), according to a new report by Visa.
The high street suffered from the second-steepest drop since April 2012 (-5.0 per cent) with clothing and footwear seeing a record decline in spend (-9.0 per cent).
Meanwhile, hotels, bars and restaurants showed resilience, reporting growth of +3.2 per cent.
Mark Antipof, Chief Officer – Commercial at Visa, said: “The pre-Christmas trading season got off to a poor start for retailers with October spending falling at the fastest rate in over four years. The figures are a stark indicator of the strain on household budgets even before the Bank of England’s recent interest rate rise.
“Clothing retailers were the worst hit, suffering from the fastest drop in spending since the Index started in 2009. The unseasonably warm weather didn’t help, but the sector has been struggling to increase sales since the beginning of this year. This is reflected more broadly in the high street performance, with spending falling for the sixth month in a row. In contrast, e-commerce continued its upward growth trend as consumers moved even more of their shopping online.
“We’ve seen another steady month for the hospitality sector. Hotels, restaurants and bars reported a healthy increase in spending, boosted perhaps by families making the most of the half term break, Halloween and early Christmas bookings.
“Retailers will now be pinning their hopes on strong performance around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. November’s data will therefore provide the first real clue on how Christmas is shaping up.”