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Weather Contributes to Consumer Lull

The recent wet weather has reportedly been contributory to recent economic figures, with April seeing a drop of 1.9% in consumer spending.

At the time of year where ordinarily people would be buying garden furniture and summer clothing, umbrella sales have gone up by a startling 5000%.

Compare this to April 2011, and spending is down by 4.3%.

John Lewis is one of few businesses to buck the trend in what has been a really tough month for most high street businesses. Visa has reported drastic spending decreases in certain sectors, including food, clothing and household goods.

Internet shopping was the way to go in April as any shopper who was drenched on their local high street will acknowledge, with a steady rise in the number of transactions made online.

The market was affected by the events of the preceding month however, with the panic buying of petrol altering the normal pattern of events in that market, and the surprisingly warm weather causing consumers to buy their summer wardrobe early.

Markit’s Chief economist Chris Williamson has said "Consumer spending remains under pressure from a considerable list of headwinds, including high unemployment, widespread job insecurity, low pay growth, high inflation and high debt. As such, it would be surprising to see any pick-up soon."

Hopefully the weather will settle into some kind of summer-like feel, even if the markets appear to be less likely to do so.

By Sean Dudley


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