Consumer confidence on the rise despite Brexit uncertainty

Consumer confidence is creeping back as financial strains ease up, but fears of higher inflation and Brexit uncertainty have put a damper on the overall outlook, expert findings reveal.

Gloomy outlook: Bank of England monetary policy (Pic: Paul James/Flickr.com)
Gloomy outlook: Bank of England monetary policy (Pic: Paul James/Flickr.com)

UK households saw financial pressures ease in December, according to the Markit Household Finance Index (HFI), which is compiled every month.

The figures are an important indicator for discretionary spend trends in garden centres and garden design.

After falling in July following the EU referendum, workplace activity increased solidly for the fifth consecutive month during December.

"In fact, the latest seasonally adjusted reading was among the highest recorded since the survey’s inception in February 2009," said IHS Markit economist Philip Leake.

The further rise in workplace activity and fewer job insecurities combined to help ease the perceived strain on current finances, he said.

However, stagnant pay and rising inflation perceptions continued to squeeze finances at the end of 2016.

Expectations for finances in 12 months’ time pointed to "one of the worst outlooks" over the past three years during December. Income remains stagnant especially for low earners.

"With inflation still expected to rise over the coming year, UK households maintained their hawkish stance towards Bank of England monetary policy in December."

Leake added: "UK households reported a relatively subdued financial strain in December. However, higher living costs are weighing on the financial outlook.

"Downbeat sentiment was evident for the ninth straight month, with December’s expectations among the worst recorded over the past three years.

"Fears about greater inflation ahead are also underpinning pessimism towards the coming year. Stronger inflation, along with stagnant pay and an uncertain Brexit agenda, looks to be behind households’ worries about the future."


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Garden centre and nursery experiences: the next big trend in 2018?

Garden centre and nursery experiences: the next big trend in 2018?

Reports say today's shoppers are as keen to take in "experiences" as they are to shop - and garden centres say they are well-placed to take in the trend.

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

An effective strategy to retain staff is the best way for any business to avoid a potential recruitment crisis, Neville Stein advises.

What benefits can buying an extra garden centre bring to retail owners?

What benefits can buying an extra garden centre bring to retail owners?

More garden centres are adding an extra location to their offer - Coolings in Kent being the most recent example of the trend. But why are they doing it - and what are the benefits?


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Horticulture Week Top 100 GARDEN CENTRES 2017

See our exclusive ranking of garden centre performance by annual turnover. 

Garden Centre Prices

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world
 

Read more Peter Seabrook articles

Neville Stein

Business advice from Neville Stein, MD of business consultancy Ovation
 

Read latest articles